God’s Eternal Plans; December 22, 2017


Micah 5:2 “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 of old,
from ancient times.”

This verse is of course famous as the one the scribes quoted when Herod asked them where the Messiah would be born. (Matthew 2:3-6) However, two things in it stand out to me. The first is that God’s plans are from eternity. God doesn’t get in a fix, saying, “What am I going to do now?” He knew before He created the universe what would happen when He did so, and He did it anyway because He is love, and He wanted children as objects of that love. That’s why the Old Testament has hundreds of prophecies about the Messiah, demonstrably written hundreds of years before His birth. As has been pointed out, the odds of one person fulfilling even a fraction of those prophecies by chance is beyond astronomical. That’s why it is so extremely ironic that the scribes in Herod’s time didn’t go seek the child themselves, and also that devout Jews today don’t recognize Jesus as their Messiah. It does no good to know Scripture if you don’t apply it. (James 1:22) The second thing I get is that God deliberately chose the insignificant (Bethlehem) as the location of His greatest Gift. That fits in perfectly with what He said through Paul: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29) God is sovereign, and as has been said, God plus one is a majority. We are never to think we are too small or too weak for God to use us. It is when we think we are so strong that of course God will use us that He has to set us aside.

This is all extremely applicable to me and to this church. This church is numerically the smallest in the city at this point, but God has given us the vision of Omura again being the foremost Christian city in the nation, as it was 450 years ago. Even the name, Omura, means “big village,” which doesn’t sound very impressive. All of that is prelude to what God is going to do for His glory, and for His glory alone. The past months have been intensive, and at times painful, training in faith and trust, but yesterday He put into place the last piece of the puzzle in terms of our purchasing a plot of land next door, to provide parking for the expansion that He says is coming. I am to keep the focus on Him, in my own heart and in the awareness of the believers and the surrounding community, so that as His plans unfold His name may be acknowledged as holy, as His kingdom comes and His will is done.

Father, thank You for Your plans, even when they don’t agree with ours – or especially so! Thank You for knowing far better than we do what needs to happen and why. Help us trust You fully, growing and moving and speaking as You intend, so that the massive harvest of souls that You desire may be brought in successfully, on Your schedule and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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