Day 67: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 67: The Way Of The Warrior

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

The Way Of The Warrior

Why did God choose Bethlehem as the place for Christ to be born? For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa. 55:8, 9).  His choice of Bethlehem was not whimsical, but purposeful.

In our last devotional, we saw in Genesis, that Jacob left his father-in-law’s home, and headed back to the Promised Land (Gen. 31).  His wife, Rachel stole her father Laban’s teraphim (divination gods) and hid them.   Rachel believed there was power in those items, and since they were demon energized, there was impact from them.  Rachel wanted that power.  God doesn’t want his people to be affected by this sort of spiritual deviancy.  Satan is not your friend.  He’ll give short term reward for long term allegiance.  Over millennium nothing has changed, he offers the same to you.  Don’t be fooled.

This background is important for Bethlehem.  The first mention of this town is: So Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem) (Gen. 35:19).  Rachel, the love of Jacob’s life, died there.  This was a sorrowful place for Jacob.  We know Rachel dabbled with demonic influence, and she was to be part of the genealogy of Christ.  Satan targeted people who were the lineage of the Lord’s Messiah, and Rachel was one of them.

In fact her death, came as a result of child birthing. When they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into labor, and she had hard labor. And when her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for you have another son.” (Gen. 35:16, 17). Whether the demonic realm was impacting her, or whether it was a medical problem we do not know. And as her soul was departing (for she was dying), she called his name Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. (Gen. 35:18). The Bible takes an enormous effort at revealing this birth, while not giving the same attention to the other sons of Jacob.  Only one birth out of twelve, receives focus.

The Bible is a very practical book, its intentions are not always declared, never-the-less they are revealed.  This birth and death had critical importance in the Biblical narrative.  The legacy of Bethlehem was the birth of a child at a time of sorrow.  Hundreds of years later, a child, Jesus would be born at another time of sorrow: Then Herod, became furious… and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years or under…. (Matt. 2:16).

Caution, this is not a reflection of identical events, rather a clue to help one to understand that there are similar themes to follow.  Bethlehem was a place of joy and sorrow.  This is the substance of earthly living.  Christ would be born into a place that hints at all the things that we experience in life – challenges and victories.  This assures us that the Lord will not live a pampered and isolated life, rather: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15).  Christ identifies with us.

We’ll transition now to the Old Testament book of Ruth, that takes place in Bethlehem.  This little four-chapter book is a picture of the Gospel, before the birth of Christ. This book features an enemy of Israel, Ruth the Moabite, and an ancestor of Jesus, Boaz.  They meet, fall in love, marry and have a male child, in Bethlehem – a recurring theme.

Ruth was in the time frame as the book of Judges, an era that: And there arose another generation after them who did not know the LORD…And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. (Jdg. 2:10, 11).  It was like the Wild West in Bethlehem, a place of scoundrels, and worship of supernatural evil.  Remember Luke 2 and the shepherds? They were the scoundrels of Jesus’ day.

Ruth became a widow, and her mother-in-law, Naomi was widowed. Two widows with no resources.  They heard: the LORD had visited his people and given them food. (Ruth 1:6).  Where would they go? Naomi was: from Bethlehem (1:2).  LORD had visited his people (1:6).  Sound familiar? Bethlehem was a place of provision.  Bethlehem means: ‘House of bread.’ Jesus’ in his earthly ministry said: For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” (Jn. 6:33).  Heavenly bread for spiritual life.

Bethlehem was also a place of inclusion: Ruth desired to go with Naomi to Bethlehem, and though an enemy become part of the people of Israel. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. (Ruth 1:16).  This is the desire of God, that his enemies become his: And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people. (Lev. 26:12).

Bethlehem was a place of compassion: So the two of them went on until they came to Bethlehem. And when they came to Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred (Ruth 1:19). The word ‘stirred’ means to be moved.  It was not a mob resisting them, rather the people were concerned for Naomi, desiring to show her affection in time of need. This is the same as Jesus in his ministry: When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matt. 9:36).

There are scores more identifying things about Bethlehem that can be unearthed. These few items we’ve uncovered will give you a good head-start.  God the Father wanted to leave a trail of clues so that the birth of Jesus had a legacy already established that would give any seeker a wealth of information, proving the Lord Jesus is the most important person in history.  This is not true of any other person of impact.  The Churchill’s, Lincoln’s, Washington’s, Hitler’s, Stalin’s don’t have a rich history about their birthplace.

But Jesus, one person of renown, was prophesied: But you, O Bethlehem…who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (Mic. 5:2). Someone who is eternal was going to be born there.  That my friend is unique.  No one else ever had the credentials of eternally living yet was born in this town.

The things God the Father valued were set in Bethlehem and became a place that ordinary people could easily identify with Jesus.  A supernatural being, born in a very natural place assures us that we naturals can become supernatural.  What a gift!

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

How do you pack the Bible with so many rich truths?  Thank you for placing so much redemptive information in your Word, so we get a clearer view of you and your will.  The more we study, the more you shine.  The more we desire information, you give us deeper truths that thrill us.  You have put so many signs in your Word, pointing to you, we cannot get lost.  We keep coming back to the glory of you, and the majesty of your Son.  Help us to value your Word more and more, so that it becomes our daily bread.

Then Father, give us the opportunities to share the Word with others, so they can experience the immensity of your character and the wonder of your person.  Give us a deep desire for those who do not know the awe of you and give us situations to naturally share your Word.  Let your Word do the work of impacting hearts and minds to the person of your Son, so listeners want to hear and learn more and more.  Do not let your Word return void: my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11).  Help us to be bearers and keepers of the Word, valuing it as a precious treasure, for out of it are the issues of life.  We pray this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let's Talk

100% Confidential | Warrior-to-warrior

We respond within 24 hours and can provide community support, resources, and referrals.