In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
Let's just take a look at this passage for a moment. I think I have half a weeks worth of posts to make out of it, but here's the first one:
God's timing is perfect. And it isn't always what we want.
Have a think about this scenario. Mary is pregnant. Not just a little pregnant, but without research I'd assume she'd be nearing the end of her
Pregnancy. And Caesar decides to call a census. How is this God's timing? Well if we believe that God is in control (and he is) then it is under his control, and it also fulfills his word.
As a result Mary and Joseph have to travel to Bethlehem to register. I don't know where they were before this, but Mary is nearing the end of her pregnancy and is now forced to travel, on foot or maybe on donkey to another town, possibly quite some distance away.
Without ever being in that situation, id guess it would be pretty stressful, pretty hard and pretty inconvenient.
But wait, it doesn't end there. God's perfect plan not only calls them to move at such a stressful time, but to move while everyone else is
Moving too. This is good for the sake of protection on the journey, but when they get there there is no accommodation.
I've been on a few family holidays, and it's stressful enough when you've booked a place but can't find it. Joseph with a very pregnant Mary not only couldn't book a place (there were no telephones back then) but they couldn't find anywhere to stay. Not a single place.
Stressful, hard and extremely inconvenient.
Then, according to God's perfect plan, that's when Mary goes into labor - in a stable, probably with animals around, probably in a pretty unhygienic position.
Yet we have a perfectly sovereign God who not only knows everything but controls everything.
Life won't always be easy. Maybe it won't even often be easy. Maybe it's never easy for some. But God is always in control, he never forgets or breaks his promises, and he Never lets us be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13)
There are so many lessons to learn in these verses, so many things I want to talk about - Gods faithfulness, the fact we never hear Joseph or Mary complaining, etc.
But here's what I want to say today. No matter what is going on in life, no matter how stressful, hard and inconvenient it is, God is good, he is in control and if you are a Christian you can trust that he not only has it under control but that he works in everything for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).
God has a plan, and he accomplishes that plan in his perfect timing. He never promises that it will be easy or nice, but it is good, he is faithful and we can trust him completely.
One more brief glance at this event. It was undoubtedly hard, stressful
And inconvenient. But through it God didn't simply fulfill some of his promises. He began his work to bring about the salvation of every person who puts their faith in him.
Are you trusting in God's perfect timing? Are you trusting that he will do what is right and good even of its not what is easy for you?