“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed” (Luke 2:1).
“And it came to pass” – this is an extremely common phrase used in both the King James version of the Bible and the New King James version. The first reference is found in Genesis 4:3 and shows up regularly all the way into 1 Thessalonians. Normally, it is used to set the stage for an event – maybe a seemingly insignificant happening; maybe one of extremely great significance, as in the above verse. The things that “came to pass” ran the gamut of being joyful, awful, mundane or unusual.
The threads of God’s plans are carried along through many of these things that “came to pass”. Mary and Joseph needed to be in Bethlehem for Jesus’ birth, so “it came to pass …that that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus....” (Luke 2:1). The couple traveled to the city of David - and as we know, while they were there, “the days were completed for her to be delivered” (vs. 4-6).
What God plans, He performs.
“The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations” (Psalm 33:10-11).
These verses certainly detail God’s sovereign power, don’t they? But we talk about having a “free will”. We have the right to decide what we want to do; to chart our own course, right? If not, aren’t we just puppets on a string?
“In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).
“Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails” (Proverbs 19:21).
God is in ultimate control of the details of our lives. He wants what is best for us. And yes, if we stubbornly plow forward, rebelling against His word and will, He may step aside to let us see just how miserable a job we do when we take the reigns, or how lackluster our lives become.
Joseph knew Mary’s advanced pregnancy would make the trip of approximately 90 miles on a donkey’s back arduous. We know nothing of the communication between him and God during these times. I wonder if he had an “aha” moment when he combined the prophetic Scripture (Micah 5:2) with the required trip. Perhaps this confidence in God’s leading spurred them both on.
“Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised. There has not failed one word of all His good promise, which He promised through His servant Moses” (1 Kings 8:56).
What God plans, He performs. We can depend on it. And this fact should not cause us to chafe, but to rejoice! Instead of feeling hemmed-in, we should feel liberated; indeed, Paul, in Romans 8:21, calls this “glorious liberty. So in “it came to pass” moments of our life, may we adhere to this well-known admonition of Paul:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
“Good…acceptable…perfect…”. Though things in your life may seem unsettled, just as they could have seemed to Mary and Joseph, don’t fear these “it came to pass” moments. God has you securely in His hand!
Best wishes from lefthandrightbrain:)