December 13, 2007 - Augustus Decreed A Census


Augustus Decreed A Census
By Jon Walker

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. … All returned to their own towns to register for this census. (Luke 2:1, 3 NLT)

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Can you believe it's almost Christmas? Praise God for the gift of his Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ, who was born as a baby in Bethlehem!

As we read about the birth of Christ, can you see how God used circumstances to guide his Holy plan and how he uses circumstances to speak to us even now?

Jesus was born in Bethlehem because God decreed it so. His birth in Bethlehem was foretold by the ancient prophets. But what would compel Joseph and Mary to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, especially late in a pregnancy?

How would they – just as human as you and I, and still looking through the glass darkly – know they were to go to Bethlehem for Jesus to be born?

In Luke 2, we see God used a bureaucratic announcement made by a secular authority to guide Joseph and Mary. Augustus said the population should be counted, and that meant everyone was required to return to the “ancestral home.” Joseph was a descendant of King David, so he headed toward David’s ancient home – Bethlehem. (Luke 2:4-5)

What does this mean?

· God knows you – You were born at the right place and at the right time. God was not surprised by your birth, the circumstances of your birth, or where you were born. He spoke you into your mother’s womb, and he knows you by name.

· You’re free to see – Knowing that God is working through your circumstances, you are free to take your eyes off the circumstances and to look around and look above. Peter took his eyes off the circumstances and walk across the water toward Jesus; only when he looked back at his circumstances did he begin to sink!

· You can be active; not passive in circumstances – Instead of saying, “Why me, God?”, you can ask, “What’s up, God?” God is working all things out. Look for where he is at work.

· Christmas question – How would you view the circumstances of this Christmas season differently if you were certain God was working in your circumstances? “For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.