Divine Details (Part 1 of 3)

Rome made a law requiring everyone to report to the city of their ancestry.  This brought Joseph and Mary to the town where Jesus was to be born!

December 22, 2020

"And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galiliee, 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:)  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child."

Luke 2:3-5

Part 1

Today:  God Even Uses Worldly Resources to Carry out His Divine Plan

“And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.”
Under God’s direction, the Prophet Micah had written that the Ruler, the Messiah, was to be born in Bethlehem, in Judah (Micah 5:2).  This he wrote 700 years before the birth!  Joseph and Mary, before their wedding, lived in Galilee, not Bethlehem.  There seems to be a problem here.  How did He get Joseph and Mary, and Mary, who was “great with child,” to Bethlehem?  They are technically married (espoused) to each other, though not living together as man and wife.  What could get them to Bethlehem?  The ungodly, secular Roman government!  Caesar Augustus called for a census of everyone living in the Roman world.

“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria” (Luke 2:1-2).

God used a lost Gentile Caesar to set the stage for His Divine plan!  God can use anyone or anything He chooses to fulfill His purposes.  He is sovereign and powerful and the Creator of all.  Everyone bows to His will in time.  The wicked Pharaoh did when he released Moses and God’s people from his kingdom.  Our sovereign God has no difficulty moving kings to do His bidding!

“The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Proverbs 21:1).


“And all went to be taxed.”
This word “taxed” in the original language is noteworthy and can be used in various ways.

“The word means properly to register or enter in a list”[1] (Vincent).

It could have been that Caesar wanted to register all who are living in the Roman empire as an official census.  Possibly he would like to tax everyone on his list.  Or, even both, a census with a tax.  But regardless of his reasons, we know that his scheme is what took Joseph and Mary down south to Bethlehem, to be in the right place at the right time!

Come back tomorrow, and we will look at some other details God arranged.  See you then!


Quote:  “If there is a single event in all of the universe that can occur outside of God’s sovereign control, then we cannot trust Him”[2] (Jerry Bridges).

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).




[1] M.R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, the electronic version in eSword. Luke 1:1-3.
[2] Bridge’s quote is from his book, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts. Downloaded, Friday, 12/18/20. From: https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/123695-trusting-god-even-when-life-hurts.