- Renée Coventry
Caesar's Tax, Day 11
Not everything within the nativity story occurred at the behest of angels. God worked with the people present at that time, including Caesar Augustus. However, Caesar wasn't searching to actively cooperate with the Lord; instead, he was counting the people. The purpose of a census is to gain information on people that enables a government to formulate economic policy. It assists in determining the assets and liabilities of a kingdom. What exactly did Caesar have with which to work?
Censuses are not sinful unless in direct contradiction to God's will, such as when David counted the fighting men in Israel in 2 Samuel 24:1-17. Thus far, David's trust had always been in God's divine direction when confronting other armies. However, by counting men fit for battle, he shifted his faith from God to the size of his army, which displeased God. As a result, instead of increasing the strength of the kingdom, 70,000 men died. In this case, God used Caesar's census to accomplish His will. Caesar's census brought Joseph and Mary back to Bethlehem, in fulfillment of Micah's prophecy, "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler of Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2).
What are you counting on right now? Caesar and David were looking to their own means for their own purposes, but the essence of faith is trust in God. To what extent are you willing to trust Him with your today and all your tomorrows? Praise the Lord that even when governments and others count assets, we can count on Him. He is the determining factor in our lives. Besides Him, there is no other.