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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

God and Big Government

Big government seems to involve itself in many areas of our lives. It demands that we buckle up when we drive, measure up to building codes, and pay up when taxes are imposed on everything from what we wear to what we eat. Our cars are taxed, our homes are taxed, our income is taxed, and our fuel is taxed. It’s almost ironic that our nation declared its independence from England in 1776 to avoid unfair taxation. We have certainly managed to tax ourselves into a corner! So it’s understandable that most of us would like big government to go on a crash diet.

But big government did something two millennia ago that led to the greatest benefit ever to reach the human race. The big government at the time was the Roman government headed by Caesar Augustus. He decreed a census in which everyone had to go to his own town for registration (Luke 2:1-3). Because Joseph belonged to the house of David, he had to register at Bethlehem.

There you have it— God used big government to draw Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, where biblical prophecy said the Savior would be born. Micah 5:2 announced, “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 . . ..”

Of course we shouldn’t conclude that what happened 2,000 years ago gives big government a ringing endorsement. Caesar Augustus served God’s purpose unwittingly. Nevertheless, we should conclude that God holds ultimate control over history. He is far bigger than any big government and is committed to positioning and using all things for our good and His glory.

The story of Christmas brings hope—real hope!