This devotional is Day 10 of the 25-Day Advent Series “The Wonders of His Love.” Follow along with us as we grow in grace through the Christmas story by subscribing or bookmarking the home page above!
Scripture: Luke 2:1-7
“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:1-7
At first glance, these seven verses of Luke, chapter 2 seem like a list of coincidental facts. But any study of any part of the Bible is never a list of coincidental facts.
God’s Word reveals who God is, who we are and exposes the world around us. The Bible is THE place to turn to, in order to grow in knowledge of God, self and our world.
With the Holy Spirit dwelling inside us, God’s Word does even more. It changes us. Our hearts are changed as God uses His Word to pull us in close beneath the protection of His wings. (Psalm 91:4).
These seemingly simple seven verses reminded me of three things about God:
God is a planner.
God is sovereign.
God is love.
God is a Planner
In the first few verses it seems like chaos as a count has to be done of every person in Israel. People are traveling back to their hometowns all over the country.
Can you imagine how the Israelites must have felt? The Romans had come in, took control and were making demands. It probably seemed like the Romans were thwarting the plans of God for His people.
“I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2
But nothing could be further from the truth.
God was using the Romans to fulfill His plan for our coming Messiah, prophesied hundreds of years earlier. Jesus was born in Bethlehem according to the plans of God.
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2
This truth brings order to our life when everything seems out of control.
Even when we don’t know the plans of God, we can be assured there is a plan. God has a purpose for every seemingly random event because nothing in God’s economy is wasted (Romans 8:28).
“Many plans are in a man’s heart, But the counsel of the Lord will stand.” Proverbs 19:21
God is Sovereign
Jesus is born in Bethlehem. Mary’s pregnancy was almost done and had been spent in Nazareth. Nazareth was close to a hundred miles away – walking miles in those days. I wonder if Mary knew the Scriptures prophesying the Messiah being born in Bethlehem.
Only the hand of God could orchestrate a census bringing the pregnant Mary all the way to Bethlehem.
“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Proverbs 21:1
God is powerful and in control, the true King of kings. Can you recall a time everything in your life seemed out of control? It takes our breath away and we’re flooded with fear and doubt.
It’s in those moments we can recall the truth about the Lord – He. Is. In. Control. God’s got this! As we grasp onto this truth, the fear is replaced with peace.
God is Love
God’s plan for His creation includes salvation through Jesus Christ. This has been the plan before the foundations of the world and prophesied as far back as Genesis, when sin marred God’s perfect creation.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Redemption through Christ is the greatest love story ever written and it’s authored by God. Jesus’ birth set the plan for God’s redeeming love in motion.
Redeeming someone is paying their debt with the intention to set them free. Jesus’ death on the cross opens the door to redemption for mankind from the debt of sin. When we humbly accept this redeeming love through faith we are set free. Only the God of love could make a plan such as this.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;” Ephesians 2:8
Meditating on the depths of God’s love for me and you is disarming. He knows everything about us. Our thoughts, weaknesses and sins, yet still sent Jesus to set us free. To be fully known and not loved is our greatest fear. But, with God, we are fully known and STILL fully loved.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18
Spend some time meditating on the richness of God’s love for you. These three truths about God remind us that He alone is our Rock and Redeemer.
“The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2
We can rest knowing He has a plan, and the power to make a way for His plans. And His love is the motive.
Questions for Your Heart:
- Are you comforted by the fact that our Almighty God can use every little detail – even those hard or confusing for us – to create good?
- How does God’s sovereignty over the nativity story assure you of His control over your story?
- When’s the last time you rested in the truth the Jesus FULLY loved you on the cross, forgiving you of all your sins?
About the Author
Sunshyne Gray is a Biblical Christian Counselor and writer. When she is not counseling couples and individuals on living a life that lines up with God’s purpose, she is a warrior wife of 18 years and a soccer mom to 2 kiddos. Sign up for her free 10 day printable study of Ruth!