Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The House of Bread

"So Joseph also went up front the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David" (Luke 2:4).

After many years of rule by military warlords, Rome finally had external peace under emperor Caesar Augustus. One of the places conquered by Rome was the land of Palestine. As Augustus consolidated his rule, he decreed a census and levied a tax on all the Roman world.

In the providence of God, this meant that Joseph, because he was of the royal house of David, had to make an arduous journey to Bethlehem, the city of David. His fiancee, Mary, was pregnant, yet he brought her along with him to Bethlehem.

Bethlehem was a small town, though it had repeatedly played an important role in Israel’s history. Ruth had come from Moab to Bethlehem and there married Boaz (Ruth 1–4). Her great-grandson, David, was born there.

Bethlehem means “House of Bread.” Because of its rich farmland, David was able to supply bread and other food to the army encamped against the Philistines. After providing food, he stayed to provide victory over Goliath (1 Samuel 17:17ff.). Another name for Bethlehem was Ephrathah, “Fertility.”

The prophet Micah remembered David’s birth in Bethlehem, and prophesied the birth of a Greater David: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).

Augustus had no idea when he sent out his decree that he was laying the foundation for a new empire. From the House of Bread would come One who not only would feed His people new bread and wine, but would also defeat all the satanic Goliaths of the earth, eventually ushering in true peace.

Not only does God use obscure events, but He uses obscure places for His purposes. Devote your home and your workplace to be used by God for significant things in His kingdom.