December 3, 2014 | Posted in: Devotional

 

Augustus 

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

Someone once said the only inevitabilities in life are… death and taxes. This was certainly true at the time of Augustus! His M.O. was simple… count the people, tax the people. A huge empire takes manpower and money to run and so a census was decreed.

At the grand age of 46 I’ve had my details recorded in a number of censuses, and as an adult I have had to complete a few as well. One thing I’ve never had to do, is relocate to register. This would have been a huge inconvenience for Mary and Joseph, especially knowing there was a tax bill and that tricky first labour at some point at the end of their journey.

Here they were… political pawns, names required so that they could be factored in the treasury’s numbers… And yet, that census was required, so that the messiah the new king and saviour could be where he was meant to be for his birth. When the magi visited later in the story, Herod consulted his religious experts who scoured the prophetic scriptures to verify the birthplace of messiah. Why? Because it had been prophesied centuries before ().

We can be thankful in advent because Augustus’ census reminds us that even in the most seemingly powerless, senseless and inconvenient details of life, Father God is able to conceive and birth the most extravagantly beautiful plans using the details arranged by man. WOW!


Listen

2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (ESV)


Listen

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.
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.
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. (ESV)

1 Comment

  1. Gilly
    December 3, 2014

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    Wow indeed!

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