At church last Sunday, the pastor used Micah 5:2 as a starting-point. The passage states: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (KJV).
The pastor, like a number of Christians, interprets Micah 5:2 to be a
prophecy about Jesus. The pastor’s point was that God used what was
small, in this case Bethlehem, for a significant work, namely, the birth
of the Messiah.
I have heard such a message within Christianity before, and I have
struggled with it on this blog. Do I believe this message? Do I reject
it as untrue? Do I believe it, sort of? Do I believe it, albeit in a
different way than I used to believe it?
I was in a Bible study group years ago, and the group’s leader told
us about a stirring preacher he heard at a Promise Keepers rally. The
leader says that he bets that preacher used to be a meek and timid
fellow, sitting in the back row at church! The leader’s point was that
God uses the seemingly insignificant, so that God can get the glory.
I do not doubt that this can happen. I just don’t think it is
absolutely true. If a person has natural talent, intelligence, looks,
and charisma, and that person becomes a preacher, then he or she will
probably get a bigger church than someone lacking in natural talent,
intelligence, looks, and charisma. My suspicion is that the way of the
church is not too different from the way of the world, in this respect.
God uses the weak for his glory? It often seems as if God uses the
strong! Or, more accurately, the strong are the ones who appear to be
successful in Christianity—-successful in such things as drawing
Yet, there are other considerations. The pastor was saying that he
depends on God in preparing and delivering sermons, so that his sermons
will be understandable to the congregation. The pastor is one whom I
would characterize as “strong”: he has strong opinions, he is a dynamic
speaker, he is witty and funny, he manifests confidence. Yet, he
acknowledges that he is weak and needs God to help him craft and deliver
The pastor was also talking about how we do not need to be in the
forefront for God to use us. There are people who work behind the
scenes, and their work is necessary. Moreover, the pastor said that the
seemingly small things that we do can be used by God to influence
profoundly a person’s life. The church is having a toy drive for
Christmas, and the pastor said that a child receiving a toy from the
church may decide to commit to Christ. I believe that these are
important and relevant considerations.