We have all heard that God works in mysterious ways. Do you think He really works in mysterious ways or we just don’t understand? Though I don’t discount that God works in mysterious ways, I think we often don’t fully understand because we don’t know all the details.
Let’s take a quick look at why Jesus was born in Bethlehem. We can quickly point to Micah 5:2 and state that it was to fulfill prophecy. We can also see in Isaiah 11:1 that a descendant of Jesse, who was David’s father, will come to bear fruit. We see in Isaiah 9:6-7 that a son will reign on David’s throne forever, meaning he will come from David’s line.
Yet why did there have to be a census in order to get Mary and Joseph to travel to Bethlehem? Was it all part of the plan? Let’s think about that. As people, do we just arbitrarily decide to travel to an unknown place for no reason at all?
Now, you might think Mary and Joseph would know they needed to travel to Bethlehem, if they knew the prophecy. Perhaps. But we must understand the situation of their day and time. From Nazareth to Bethlehem would have been a four- or five-day journey. Not to mention that Mary was pregnant and traveling on a donkey or walking would have been challenging. We also must account for Matthew 2:23 telling us that prophecy stated He would be called a Nazarene. It would seem that prophecy contradicted itself.
God, who knows all, knew His plan. He works through kings, as we see in Romans 13:1, who are appointed by Him. When we understand this, we can make a logical conclusion that God urged Caesar to demand a census in order for Mary to be where He wanted her to give birth.
You see, when we put the pieces together, it is not so mysterious. We don’t know the whole plan. We don’t know God’s full intention. That is why it appears to be mysterious to us. In many situations, we wrestle with the same issue—we don’t know all the details. Unfortunately, we too often make judgments based on partial information.
As Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13:12, we see dimly in our current life, but we will fully know why God planned it the way He did when we come face-to-face with Him. What does this mean to us? It means we are to trust Him, even if it appears to be a mystery or unexplained.
I pray we all trust God. I pray we trust, even when it appears He is working mysteriously. I pray each one of us will follow where God is leading us. Put your trust in God. God has a plan. You don’t know everything. God’s mystery will be revealed.
Luke 2:1-5 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 their 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.