“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, thought you be small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for Me One who is to be ruler over Israel.” Micah 5:2
The names of our Messiah were Jesus and Immanuel. The place He was to be born was predicted hundreds of years before, also with two names—Bethlehem and Ephrathah! I’ve heard the first one many times (and even visited there which was quite the spiritual treat!), but the second one, not so much.
Bethlehem means “house of bread,” or more generically, “house of meat (meaning food in general, not necessarily a T-bone steak! Sorry!) It was (and still is! J) located about 5 ½ miles south of Jerusalem and has a rich history in the Bible, mostly centered around the fact that it was David’s stomping grounds while he was getting ready to be king. “House of bread, or food.” A place to go when I need nourishment; a place designed or assigned to the role of providing nourishment. It might be called a restaurant or a cafeteria today. If it was the whole city maybe it was like a fast food mall! J
And, true to His identity, Jesus called Himself, as did others, the “bread of life,” which He guaranteed would provide such a feast that I would not ever spiritually hunger again! That’s pretty good Bread! That’s quite a Provider!
But what about Ephrathah? What does that mean? Though a bit more obscure, I did a little word study and discovered, among other things, that this secondary name has in its Hebrew root the word for “fruitfulness.” Then my “hopefully” God-guided imagination took off! Bethlehem, a “fruitful house of food!” Just as God told Adam and Eve to be “fruitful” and multiply, so in Bethlehem was the “fruit” of God, the Holy Spirit, Mary and Joseph, AND the beginning of a movement called Christianity that would spread throughout the whole world. Talk about being “fruitful!” And, pardon, the lightness of my imaginations, but, who, pray tell, is going to feed the offspring of all this “fruitfulness?” Why, the Bread of Life, of course! Jesus started this whole thing called Christianity right there in Bethlehem and He takes full responsibility for taking good care of His family! All of us!
Have a great day as a cared for part of His family,
Quote for the day: “I'm reminded that groups who define themselves by who they are not, never really figure out who they are. It makes growth all but impossible. Then they wonder why they don't thrive?” A friend on Facebook!
PS UC Family Worship will be the annual UC Fine Arts Division Christmas concert. They are pulling out all the stops with choir, band, orchestra and more. Join us @ 7:30 in the church for what is ALWAYS a great program.
PPS After vespers activity will be a dramatic presentation by our own “Footprints.” It will start 30 minutes after vespers in Woods Auditorium. No Fogg rolls this week because we all want to support “Footprints!”
PPPS The Golden Chords will be presenting a holiday concert this Sabbath afternoon. It will feature beautiful music from a masterful string quartet as well as a short worship thought. Another option from our students at Northside Seventh-day Adventist Church at 1800 N. 73rd street at 4:30 pm for this wonderful Christ-centered holiday vespers!