Tuesday, June 17, 2014


And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.  This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.  So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.  Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into 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 wife, who was with child.  So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  (Luke 2:1-8) 

Why is it so hard to maintain hope?  That it is difficult is apparent.  Hopelessness is an epidemic today.  There are challenges to hope which on the surface may seem insurmountable.  This is nothing new.  That was true in the first century, even as it is in the twenty-first. 

One of those challenges is OUR WORLD.  In the time when Mary would give birth to the Hope of the World, there was a tyrant on the throne.  When Caesar Augustus spoke, the whole planet moved at his command.  The iron legions of Rome had their boots on the neck of Israel.  Taxes were high and about to get higher.  People were struggling to survive under oppressive conditions.  It sounds very much like our political and economic climate.  We are trying to sail ahead into gale-force winds, stinging rain and ominous clouds.  That can be a challenge to hope.

Couple this with OUR WEAKNESS.  In Luke chapter two, we see two people in the royal line of King David, but they are ordered around like slaves.  Mary is in no shape to travel—she’s nine months pregnant—but she must anyway.  The common man struggled to survive, and the powerful controlled him.  People felt helpless to do anything about it.   We can identify, can’t we?   It is easy for us to be blinded to hope. 

Yet, hope is there—in operation in the invisible, spiritual realm.  God was up to something.  Scripture opens the veil to Heaven’s activity behind the scene.  All the world was put in motion, not merely because of government’s insatiable appetite for more money, but due to God’s zeal for His Word!  There was an obscure prophecy found in Micah 5:2 that must be fulfilled.  It said this, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”

Mary carries that Baby in her womb.  But there’s a problem with the prophecy—she’s miles and miles away in Nazareth, and Micah said the Child would be born in Bethlehem.  No problem!  God whispers into Caesar’s ear, a new government program is initiated and God’s promise is vindicated!  A human despot makes a decree, but a Sovereign God has already issued the directive.  Man rules and God overrules!  Always remember when you look around and things seem hopeless, that there is more than meets the eye!

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