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. — Luke 2:1-4
We ended last week with a swirl of prophecies all fulfilled so that God’s Word, His purpose and His plan would be accomplished. As God prepares us for the journey ahead, He must often “Set the Stage,” or prepare things in advance. We use this idiomatic expression to give us a visual picture of what takes place before any theatrical performance.
Before any patrons sit in the audience, a crew of people work feverishly behind the curtain painting backdrops, setting up furniture, constructing platforms…they are making certain that every detail and prop is where it should be. So that, when the actors hit their mark on stage to deliver their lines or perform their actions in telling the story, everything goes off without a glitch! Every great stage performance is prepared in advance by countless hours of rehearsal and attention to detail.
In the same way, God leaves nothing to chance. How would Mary and Joseph be assured to have their child come from Nazareth? God moves in the heart of the ruler of the most powerful empire in the world to take a census. A seemingly unimportant detail, but to the God of the universe — every detail matters. Sometimes the crazy turns, the painful twists, the joyful roads we are led down don’t make much sense to us. But God is exceedingly efficient in using all the apparently inconsequential details of our lives to “Set the Stage” for the most amazing story that our lives will tell of His glory.
Today, is there a path you are on (or have been on) that doesn’t seem to make sense? Could it be that the God of the universe, who moved the most powerful man in the world to do His bidding, is simply setting the stage for greater purposes than you understand right now?
Perhaps on this day you can take a moment to thank God, even for the details you don’t quite understand…and trust His ways.