Thursday, November 25, 2010

God's Sovereingty

Lk.2:1-6 -And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

he Jews constantly protested the Roman occupation, and they hated the Roman taxes. It was well known that the taxes usually ended up in the coffers of Rome itself, and did little to aid those in need. They were unfair and unjust. But I want us to draw our attention to the entire story of Christ’s birth.

The prophet had identified Bethlehem, meaning the house of bread, as the birthplace of the Messiah. Now God could have chosen a virgin who lived in Bethlehem to be the chosen mother of Jesus. But God, in His wisdom and sovereignty, chose a young virgin from Nazareth knowing full well that the fulfillment of Micah 5:2 would necessitate incorporating a Roman decree. Think on that for a moment, the Holy Spirit visits a virgin from Nazareth at least 9 months before the decree went out, and God knew that Joseph would have to take Mary to Bethlehem since they both were of the tribe of Judah.

A Roman decree of census and taxation became an integral part of the birth of Jesus because God designed it so. Think about the complaining today from believers about American taxes. In fact, the most recent political movements, which included many believers, were about publicly decrying taxes. And yet God Himself orchestrated the birth of His Son to include the oppressive Roman tax decree as a sovereign part of the prophetic narrative.

Should we complain about the taxation decree of Caesar Augustus (probably around 8B.C.) which brought Mary to Bethlehem? Should we question God’s wisdom in not choosing a virgin from Bethlehem so Rome would not have any part in it? Or can we glean from the narrative an exhortation to trust in God’s sovereignty and avoid complaining about circumstances since God is well able to both plan and bring about His will, even if certain events seem confusing to us?

‘For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

So the next time you are tempted to complain and criticize things that seem unfair, remember God is always at work in means and ways that sometimes are known only to Him. Jesus would later exhort His followers to pay their taxes to Rome. Persecution from within the church must be rebuked and corrected. Persecution from without should be endured with humility and patience and even joy.

No comments: