Do you believe in a place called Hope? When it comes to the political past and future of our country, many people do. Hope, Arkansas, that is. A town of around 10,000 in southwest Arkansas that is the birthplace of one former United States President (Bill Clinton) and one Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee. Regardless of your political persuasion, you probably have a reason to be thankful for Hope.
It seems rather improbable to me that such a small town in such a sparsely populated state could produce two leaders with such influence. To put it in perspective, Hope has the exact same number of Presidents born inside its city limits as New York City! If Huckabee were to be elected President in 2012, Hope would actually be the birthplace of more U.S. Presidents than one of the largest cities in the world. Amazing.
I was thinking of this place called Hope today as I read Micah 5:2 and the Old Testament prophecy about the Messiah being born in Bethlehem. The prophecy reads, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, 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.” As people who have had 2,000 years of perspective following the birth of Christ, we see Bethlehem as a highly honored town. A place where the King of Kings was born, and the hometown of Israel’s second (and most famous) king – David. In the first century, however, Bethlehem was far from impressive. It was the first century equivalent of Hope, Arkansas, not New York City. Bethlehem was a rural town of less than 1,000 people at the time of Jesus birth. Given its small stature, it seems rather improbable that such a town could produce such an influential leader.
The large influence out of the small town reminds us of how God can use small things to accomplish big objectives. Little David took down big Goliath. The little mustard seed grows into the ever-growing Kingdom of God. A little child grows up to be the Savior of the world. When God chooses to act, He can do whatever He wants regardless of the size of the package. Remember this as you worship Christ this Christmas. Don’t get hung up on appearances in life. God can use anyone from anywhere to accomplish His purposes at anytime. This is good news for many who will be reading this post. I live in Oklahoma . . . an entire state full of “Bethlehems.” God is at work in our town too. There is Hope for all of us.