In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
When Caesar spoke, every citizen listened. From every part of the Roman Empire people obeyed Caesar, who proclaimed himself lord of all. Caesar, the self-styled ruler of the universe, was in charge.
But Caesar was merely an instrument in the hands of the true Lord of heaven and earth. While Augustus was proudly issuing decrees, the Ruler of the Universe, God himself, was carrying out plans he had laid before the foundation of the world. And in those plans he allowed a self-styled, proud ruler to play a small part.
That is God’s irony. According to Psalm 2:4, “The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs” at rulers of the earth as they plot and gather together. The Lord scoffs at rulers who parade their weaponry and threaten other nations with violence. The Lord laughs at presidents and prime ministers who pretend to be in charge. Even dictators who have no regard for human life are no more than instruments in the hands of Almighty God.
Remember that fact this season, if fear should grip your heart. Remember that fact if you are tempted to put your trust in people who govern and who promise a utopia on earth. The Lord of heaven and earth is in charge!
Lord of heaven and earth, help us to remember that you are in charge. Help us to remember that earthly rulers govern only because you allow them power for a while. Bring them to submit to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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