Reflection based on Luke 2:1-3.
All throughout Scripture we find evidence of the truth that “the king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord, like rivers of water He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1). God has tapped a variety of historical rulers and leaders to participate in His great history.
The sad part is, so few of them probably realized it. God directed their actions according to His purposes–sometimes to judge, sometimes to bless.
Nebuchadnezzar was allowed to bring judgement and catastrophe on God’s people for their unbelief and disobedience.
Cyrus was prompted to send the descendants of the chastised people back to their homeland for a fresh start.
Pilate was given the damning chore of condemning Jesus to death. And even as he condemned Jesus to die, he was God’s unknowing agent. Jesus himself told Pilate, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”
And here, near His Son’s birth day, God taps the shoulder of an unbelieving man. Caesar Augustus, who flung the covers off his inflated ego by adding to his own name this title—“Son of the Divine.”
God would use that devastating decree from an unbelieving king to give a little reprieve to His obedient and heart weary children. An escape to Bethlehem to grant relief and to fulfill prophecy.
And Mary and Joseph, in dutiful obedience to a lesser king, fulfill the eternal plans of the Greatest King.
A quick glance into history reminds us, we are governed by human leaders, but they are each ultimately governed by and accountable to God. Whether they know it or not. Whether they believe it or not. And whether we witness the repercussions or not.
So whether our human leaders have been established by God to judge or bless, we must remember, either way our first allegiance is to One Good King, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.