“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
The prophecy was that the promised Messiah would come from Bethlehem, in Judea. This was affirmed by the religious leaders to Herod.
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “`But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'”(Matthew 2:1-6)
However, Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, in Galilee. But shortly before Jesus was born they travelled to Bethlehem, in Judea, in response to the command of Caesar.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:1-7)
Such is the power and majesty of God that centuries before the birth of Jesus He could specify the town in which He would be born. This was not just any town but the one that was associated with King David, whose throne would be given to the coming Messiah. And, to make certain that Joseph and Mary would be there, the supreme head of the secular ruling powers issued a directive that had to be obeyed. And so, just as our Almighty God had foretold centuries beforehand, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
This is the type of detail that should make us laugh in amazement and joy – such is the power, authority and planned purpose of God. His actions and involvement are not haphazard – they are part of His perfect and grace-filled will. His Name be praised!
No matter what is happening in the world around us today, or in our private worlds, what God has promised will take place.
Praise God for His power and majesty, even down to the smallest detail.
Father we thank You so much that You are both willing and able to ensure that Your will is done. May Your will be fulfilled in my life as well. In Jesus name I ask this. Amen.