In Luke 2:1-4 we read,
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (2)(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) (3) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. (4) 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:) (5) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.”
Almost 2,000 years ago Joseph and Mary journeyed to Bethlehem. Approximately 2,040 years before, Jacob and Rachel, another expectant couple, traveled along the same road. Rachel gave birth to Benjamin, but died soon after the delivery, and Jacob buried her near Bethlehem (Genesis 35:19.) Rachel’s death foreshadowed the devastation that the territory of Benjamin would suffer in Jeremiah’s time: “Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.” (Jeremiah 31:15) Yet the prophecy found its final fulfillment in Jesus’ day when Herod the Great slaughtered all baby boys in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:17-18). So at God’s direction, Joseph fled to Egypt with Mary and Jesus to live until Herod’s death.
Each movement of Jesus’ family finds its cause in God’s revelation to Joseph – fleeing Bethlehem to Egypt, returning from Egypt to Israel, and avoiding Judea to settle in Galilee. God’s purpose for these moves lay first in the protection of His Son, but Matthew notes that each directive also fulfilled Scripture. I doubt anyone but God saw beforehand the prophecies fulfilled by these geographic moves. But in hindsight, they become clear.
Often in our lives God’s leading and timing doesn’t make a lot of sense at first. For years we pray for a loved one’s health, for a friend’s salvation, or for a missionary to receive funds. We plug away endlessly at a miserable pace with no end in sight. Yet when we look back in hindsight, we actually come to appreciate how God led us – and all the victories and failures along the way to prepare us for something we felt ready for much earlier. While we strain to see over the next horizon, God sees the way from above and so knows the best way to proceed.
As we anticipate 2014 in a few weeks, with all its uncertainties, we can take comfort that our God sees the future as clearly as the past. He seldom gives us all we need in order to understand, but He always gives us all we need to obey. Eventually, we discover that in our simple obedience to God’s Word, He has guided us along paths far too complex for us to see at the time. Eventually, His leading and His timing become clear.
We never see Joseph questioning God’s leading, though he couldn’t have possibly understood it all. But what Joseph did understand offers us a great model. The Lord leads us with His wise but often unusual directions, always rooted in Scripture, for our good and for His glory.
Again in our 47th year of ministry, it has been wonderful to KNOW and EXPERIENCE how GOOD and FAITHFUL our God is all the time. It has been our humble privilege to share with you the Weekly SERMON throughout this past year. Now as we have shared with you, perhaps you would share with us. Would you be so kind as to drop us a note telling how these Weekly SERMONS have either been a blessing to you or how you were able to use them. And even though we do not charge for the sermons, a gift to help meet our expenses would also greatly help and be very much appreciated. God’s richest blessings, and many thanks for considering this request.
In His Amazing Grace,
PS: As we have repeatedly said, we will not charge for sending the Weekly SERMON. However there are expenses associated with doing what we do. If possible during 2013, would you please consider helping us in this faith ministry? Your donation will help us to continue to “stand in the gap” in “teaching others also.” After you have given your tithes to your church and taken care of your pastor, would you consider giving either a yearly gift, or a monthly offering? Remember, for the purposes of financial accountability, we have placed this ministry under the Green Street Baptist Chapel of Edwardsville, PA. Checks made out to Green Street Baptist Chapel, memo to the Bible Baptist ministry and mailed to Bible Baptist Ministry 48 Alexie Rd, Hanover Township, PA 18706 will be applied to this ministry.
In order to access the Weekly SERMON, please click the link to Weekly Sermon Library, where you will be able to choose: Plain Text (TXT), Microsoft Word document (DOC), Rich Text (RTF), Web Page (HTML) or PDF (Portable Document Format), any of the format(s) you desire. After you decide on the appropriate format(s) you may then print a copy of the Weekly SERMON, save it to a file on your computer, or download it and save it to a disk for future use. Your use of this material is meant to be flexible.