Daily Devotional

“Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom…” Ezra 1:1

As I have looked over the events of the last couple of years in my personal life and in our world I am struck more and more by the by the magnificence of the Lord’s power to move in the hearts of men. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like He is moving or will move. But, as I have listened to scripture this past week, in my daily reading as well as other meetings, I have a giggly sense of joy as I have seen events in Biblical history where the Lord just “stirred” and caused His will to be done. It encourages me to hope, to continue to have faith in what looks impossible.

I was at a Christmas gathering this last week and as the Nativity narrative in Matthew and Luke was being read and discussed I was struck by the many “inconveniences” Mary and Joseph experienced in order to maneuver them to the exact place God specifically wanted them to be for Jesus’ birth.

“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.” Luke 2:1-5

What an inconvenient time for this to be happening to Joseph and Mary. She was nine months pregnant! Seriously, ask any woman about to give birth, not the best time to be traveling! You can’t even get on a plane at that point. I’m sure it must have been such a temptation to disobey the decree and stay home. But it was important for them to be precisely in Bethlehem for Jesus’ birth. It was a sign of who Jesus would be to us. Bethlehem, in Hebrew, means House of Bread and Jesus refers to Himself as the Bread of Life in John 6:35. God used a governmental decree to make that happen. They had no idea of the huge affects their obedience would be in the fulfillment of prophecy.

And we always look at how horrible it was that there was no room in the inn for Mary and Joseph. But, because of that “inconvenience,” Mary gave birth to Jesus in a barn and he was placed a feedbox, a sign of who He is to us (“I am the bread of life, he who comes to Me shall never hunger…”  John 6:35).
Hopefully you will read the accounts of Jesus’ birth throughout these next few weeks. And in your daily reading of God’s Word look for other signs and methods He used to maneuver people to where He wanted them to be. There are others!

Lord when I don’t know what to do, help me to be willing, to be obedient, even through inconvenience. “Thy will be done.”
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