Joseph and Mary were waiting too. Waiting to become parents. Joseph certainly did not like the idea of putting a nine-month pregnant Mary on a mule and traveling three to four days from Nazareth to Bethlehem, but he had to because of the recently called census. At this time in history, everyone was required to return to the town of their birth to be counted in a census. Joseph was from Bethlehem. Therefore, he needed to travel there to be officially counted.
The fascinating thing about this census was how Augustus – a Roman Emperor – fulfilled a Biblical prophecy about the Messiah without even knowing. In the Book of Micah, the prophet says, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past” (Micah 5:2). Bethlehem Ephrathah is the same place. Ephrath was the ancient name for this Canaanite city. Bethlehem was the Jewish label. So, out of Bethlehem a ruler of Israel will come. The Messiah was to be someone from the line of David. Both Joseph and Mary were direct descendants of King David. Their Son, therefore, would be as well. Jesus was also someone “whose origins are from the distant past.” John tells us in his gospel that Jesus had always existed. “He [Jesus] existed in the beginning with God” (John 1:2). This ruler is Jesus, the Messiah. So, Micah accurately predicts here Jesus’ birthplace hundreds of years before He was born.
However, Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth. How do we get a preborn Jesus to Bethlehem? God makes that happen. He puts it on the heart of Caesar Augustus to call for a census. Joseph being from Bethlehem travels there with Mary where their baby is born, wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, and laid in a manger. When God has a plan, He will see it fulfilled. God once said to Isaiah, “Everything I plan will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish” (Isaiah 46:10).
Have you ever wondered why you bumped into that person or how you ended up in that place? It was not in your plans. It is always good to have a plan but in the end God’s will – will be done. Whatever He plans will come to pass. If you have been diverted or forced to change direction in your life, relax. God is just “recalculating” for you. Making sure you are headed in His direction. That you end up in the place He has planned for you. So, if you suddenly have to make a three-to-four-day journey to a place you did not plan to go, do not worry. Whatever you are going through right now is preparing you for what God has in mind for you next. Be not afraid. Have faith. Trust the Lord. He will never lead you astray.
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