“From Nazareth to Bethlehem”

Pastor Wayne Moore: High Point Baptist Church

“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 all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And 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:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.” (Luke 2:1, 3-5)

It’s amazing how the Lord uses every day events to fulfill His will. The Bible is full of miracles and wonders that God has done. But for the most extraordinary birth in History, the birth of His own Son, He used a tax program. There was no crossing of the Red Sea, no pillar of fire to lead Joseph, not even the star that the Wise Men were following. By obeying Caesar Augustus, Joseph was obeying God. Augustus didn’t even know the Lord. Joseph knew the Lord and had received the revelation that Mary’s child was indeed the Savior of the world, but how much he knew of the prophecies concerning the Messiah’s birthplace is hard to say. Even so, he could not have known that God would use the taxing of a pagan emperor to fulfill His plan.

When you think back over the history of how God called a people to be a nation unto His glory, and how He got them to the land we know as Israel, it is truly astounding. He began 2,000 years earlier by calling Abraham out of a family of idolaters in the Persian Gulf area to move to the other side of the fertile crescent along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Instead of giving him the land right away, or even one heir, He just gave him a promise and had him live in tents the rest of his life.

Finally, after Abraham’s wife, Sarah, was well past child bearing years, God gave them a son. Then came along two rambunctious and quarrelsome grandsons. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Esau all created their own obstacles to God’s plan being fulfilled. But, thankfully, they were not in control, God was.

God actually grew the lineage of Abraham into a nation after they moved out of the land into Egypt to escape a seven-year famine. There, they became slaves. Four-Hundred years later, God delivered them and the thanks He got was grumbling, complaining, and rebellion. Even the leader He chose failed and could not enter the promised land. Nevertheless, God kept His promise and brought the children of the rebellious generation, plus Joshua and Caleb into the land He promised them.

Once in the land, God’s people repeatedly strayed until the nation was divided and ultimately exiled into foreign lands again. After God’s pre-determined time-out was complete, only a remnant returned to settle the promised land again.

Joseph and Mary were in the promised land when they received God’s revelation and call on their lives, but they were not in the designated boundary of their tribe, Judah. They were in Nazareth, 90 miles away. That was no problem for God because He knows how to arrange even the most ordinary routines of our lives to accomplish His will. God used Caesar Augustus to call for a taxing and the prophecy of Micah 5:2 was fulfilled. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” God got Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem in the most ordinary way.

How has God arranged the events of your life? Where does He want you to go? How is He getting you there? Stop and consider how God is communicating to you right now, even in your daily routines. What does He want you to know? What does He want you to do? Will you obey?

Nothing could stop God’s will from being done. God overcame geography, time, circumstances, and human depravity to have His Son born in Bethlehem. He can overcome every obstacle in your life to bring you to Him. He can overcome the way you were raised. He can overcome your lack of experience in the church. He can overcome your bad experience in a church. He can overcome your sins, mistakes, faults, and failures. There is only one obstacle He won’t overcome, not that He can’t, but He won’t. That obstacle is your unwillingness. The Bible says, “whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

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