Thursday, December 7, 2023

No Time for God?

But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. (Galatians 4:4-5 NLT)

The birth of Jesus Christ divided human time. Rome had established control over much of the world at this point. The Pax Romana, a period of peace during the Roman Empire, was a time of brutal peace. The Romans cared most about two things: submission to Rome and a steady flow of wealth into Roman coffers.

But with the absence of war, many people were rediscovering art, literature, and philosophy, and they were asking questions. They were talking about human destiny and the meaning of life. 

“When the right time came,” the Bible says, “God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children” (Galatians 4:4-5 NLT).

Caesar Augustus thought he was a powerful man, and he was, but he also was a pawn in the hand of God Almighty. That’s because history is His story. Thus, God moved Augustus to accomplish His purposes, reminding us that God is in control. He is sovereign over all nations and over all people.

The Bible says, “The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1 NLT). God can move the heart of a king, queen, prime minister, president, senator, congressman, or CEO. God will accomplish His purposes.

Augustus thought that by ordering a census, he would have greater control over the world. But in the end, all he did was run an errand for God.

The Lord needed Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem because Scripture prophesied, “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf” (Micah 5:2 NLT).

Joseph and Mary made the ninety-mile journey to Bethlehem for the census that Augustus decreed. We like to imagine scenes of Joseph and Mary silhouetted against a full moon on such a beautiful night. But the reality is that it was a very difficult and dangerous journey, especially for a woman in the ninth month of her pregnancy.

You would have hoped the hardships would have ended when they finally arrived in Bethlehem. But the Bible says, “There was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7 NKJV). This doesn’t vilify the innkeeper (if there was indeed an innkeeper); it simply presents him for who he was: a man who was preoccupied and busy. You would have thought he could have found it in his heart to make room for a woman who was ready to give birth at any moment. But he sent Joseph and Mary to a barn, or more likely a cave, where the Savior of the world was born.

There are people today who are just like this innkeeper. They don’t have any time in their lives for God. But we had better make room for Him. As the Christmas hymn “Joy to the World” reminds us, “Let every heart prepare Him room.” Make time for Him today.

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