Devotion 3 in the series The Heart of Christmas: Matthew 2:1-6 and Micah 5:1-5

When You Wonder If God Sees You: The Heart of Christmas

Inside: Feeling unnoticed and wondering if God sees you? Like you’re playing a game of hide and seek, and no one has come to find you? What to do if you think God doesn’t see you.When You Wonder if God Sees You: The Heart of Christmas

Devotion 3 of 4 in the series The Heart of Christmas: In today’s devotion, we continue to prepare our hearts for Christmas, when we celebrate the incredible faithfulness of Christ to be born of human flesh. Today we look at how God esteemed the little town of Bethlehem and how God sees you, too.

As early as their feet could pitter patter across a room, my nieces loved to play hide-and-seek. It started as most games do, with the adults egging them on: “Go hide, and I’ll find you!”

Their joy upon being found was inexpressible.

Soon, the game shifted. I would come in the door from running an errand, and another adult would say, “Aunt Chris, I can’t find Alyssa. I thought she was with you!” Big wink, smile, nod.

Loud and obvious seeking ensued, although Alyssa was quite visible under the table or behind the door. When I “found” her, the biggest smile greeted me.

As she grew older, she recruited her younger sister, and now they were hiding behind couches, truly hidden from view. Two girls were lost. Where could they be? The angst while lost. The glee once found!

But what if I came in the door, played the game, found one sister, and then became distracted, not seeking out the other? At first the still-lost sister enjoyed having successfully hid herself, but then she languished. How long would she have to stay behind that boring couch where no one was paying attention to her? Why wasn’t I looking? Didn’t I care about her and her situation?

Ever felt that way? Perhaps more than you would like to admit? Just a few days ago, I was having a pity party and whined my way through a prayer. Little did I know, encouragement had already been sent: Wrapped up in my self-absorbed spiral, I hadn’t even thought to check the inbox of a different account, where two uplifting messages had arrived.

We wallow behind the couch, thinking no one cares even enough to check on us.

My attention redirected back to the game of hide-and-seek, I played along: “Oh my goodness, she’s still missing?” Around the house I traipsed, calling Isabella’s name. Surely we hadn’t left her at the store. Did you leave her in the car? A cough, a giggle, tipped me off, as if I needed the clue. “There you are!” I sing-songed, peering around the back side of the couch.

When You Wonder If God Sees You: The Heart of Christmas“What took you so long? I was there all day!” she challenged, having stayed still behind the couch for an eternal 10 minutes.

The little town of Bethlehem could have complained the same. The ordinary village was barely noticeable, a passing thought on the Judean countryside. But its role in history? Nothing short of glorious.

Bethlehem, so small as to not be counted by Joshua as a possession of Judah, would be the earthly birthplace of the Messiah.

God spoke it so through the prophet Micah between 735 and 700 BC. Not long after as far as centuries go, God’s Word to humankind was silent for 400 years . . .

Until Mary and Joseph traveled to the unnoticed little village so they could be counted in the census . . . so that Mary, who was with child, could give birth there, just as the prophet had foretold.

Feeling unnoticed these days? Languishing behind the couch? Does anyone notice or care?

Oh, God sees you. He knows you are hiding behind that couch, just waiting for Him to peek around the corner and exclaim, “There you are!” The thing is, He knew where you were all along.

He sees. He knows. He loves you with all His heart.

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Enjoy your quiet moments with the Lord as you work through the Digging Deeper questions below. You will find portions of Matthew 2 and Micah 5 printed for you below as well.

Be sure to download the printable When You Wonder If God Sees You or Cares.” No strings attached!

  • You’ll learn three strategies to encourage your soul with the truth that God sees you and loves you.
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Printable for When You Wonder If God Sees You

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Digging Deeper: When You Wonder if God Sees You

Enjoy this precious time with the Lord. Reflect on or journal about the following questions, listening for what God has to say to you.

1. Do you ever feel like God doesn’t notice you? When do you feel that way? What causes those feelings of anxiety and loneliness? It is OK to share this thought with God. Feel free to approach His throne boldly, asking Him to fill your heart with His love.

2. What is the best thing to do if you think God doesn’t see you or care about you? Transform your thinking, making it biblical. Work this through with me, taking a page from Micah 5:2 and Psalm 139:13-16:

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.

Now put your name in the blank:

But you, ___[your name here]_____,
who are feeling small and unnoticed,
you are fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your frame was not hidden from God
when you were being intricately made in your mother’s womb.
God saw you,
and in His book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for you
when as yet there was none of them.

3. Oh, praise God that He esteemed the little town of Bethlehem. So He esteems each one of us, for we are His creation! God sees you. Enjoy worshiping with these songs today and throughout the week.

Eye of the Storm (Ryan Stevenson) A great reminder that God is with us when the storm is raging.)

He Knows My Name (Tommy Walker)

O Little Town of Bethlehem (United Studio Orchestra & Children’s Chorus and The Mormon Tabernacle Choir)

Or the more upbeat version here: O Little Town (Amy Grant)

His Eye Is on the Sparrow (Selah) Just as His eye is on the sparrow (Matthew 10:29), so He watches over each one of us.)

To start this series, “The Heart of Christmas,” from the beginning, click here.

Digging into God’s Word: God Is So Faithful!

Matthew 2:1-6 (ESV)

The Visit of the Wise Men

2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Micah 5:1-5a (ESV)

(written 700 years before the birth of Jesus)

The Ruler to Be Born in Bethlehem

1 Now muster your troops, O daughter of troops;
siege is laid against us;
with a rod they strike the judge of Israel
on the cheek.
2 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.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth.
5 And he shall be their peace.

Extra Info!

Micah 5:2 says,

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah.”

What Does Bethlehem Mean?

I love this: Bethlehem means “House of Meat” or “House of Bread.” How fitting that Jesus, the Bread of Life, came to earth in flesh in the “House of Bread”! How purposeful our Heavenly Father is and how intricate His plans.

What Does Ephrathah Mean?

Ephrathah means “fruitful.” It was also the ancient name of Bethlehem in Judah. Some commentators believe that “Ephrathah” was added in this verse to distinguish Bethlehem in the tribe of Judah from another Bethlehem in the tribe of Zebulun.

In Psalm 132:6, David mentions hearing about the ark of the covenant in Ephrathah, although he did not see it until later, in 1 Samuel 7:1.

How Small Was Bethlehem?

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible helps us with this:

“Each tribe was divided into its thousands, probably of fighting men, each thousand having its own separate head (Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:4). But the thousand continued to be a division of the tribe, after Israel was settled in Canaan (Joshua 22:21, Joshua 22:30; 1 Samuel 10:19; 1 Samuel 23:23). The “thousand” of Gideon was the meanest in Manasseh (Judges 6:15). Places too small to form a thousand by themselves were united with others, to make up the number. So lowly was Bethlehem that it was not counted among the possessions of Judah. In the division under Joshua, it was wholly omitted. From its situation, Bethlehem can never have been a considerable place.”

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Comments

  1. Mitzi Hellyer says:

    So uplifting! Great start to a good day!

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