Caesar’s Census and God’s Sovereignty

Who’s in charge? Who has the power and position to influence the events of history and create change in the world, for better or for worse? 

If you had asked that question of the citizens of the Roman Empire two thousand years ago, the likely reply would have been: Caesar Augustus. He was, after all, the most powerful man in the most powerful empire in the world. In addition, he was the man responsible for a whole range of positive change in the Empire. He ushered in the era of pax romana and his rule brought stability to a constantly changing government. New construction projects were undertaken at his command, and trade and commerce were allowed to flourish.

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A Son on the Throne

The promise of a son is one of the more prominent threads which weaves itself through the biblical story of redemption. Immediately after Adam, a “son of God” (Luke 3:38), disobeyed and fell into sin, God came to him with a promise that the seed of the woman would ultimately win out over the crafty serpent who had lured them into distrust and rebellion. A son of a woman would enter into combat with the great enemy of God and after being struck by his foe, the son would crush the head of the serpent and put an end to his power and influence over the world.

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A Quiet Soul

King David was the highest authority in the land, overseeing a small, yet powerful nation. His responsibility was great and his tasks were endless. Internally, he had to both ensure the peace and unity of his palace and his country. Backstabbing, deceit, and insurrection were common among the ruling elites of Israel and David had to manage it all with wisdom and confidence. On a national level, his responsibility was to unite the diverse and often disconnected tribes which constituted the nation of Israel. On top of all that, there were the constant wars and skirmishes being fought on the borders against enemy nations. 

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Book of Sins

“I’m a good person for the most part.” 

“My good outweighs my bad.” 

These are common responses when people are asked about the morality of their life. Most of us consider ourselves good people, and yet we also readily acknowledge that there is an abundance of hate, violence, and brokenness in the world. How does that compute? 

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We Don’t Know What To Do

King Jehoshaphat was a mixed bag. At times he displayed godly wisdom and a clear-sighted vision of what God requires of the king of His chosen people. At other times he lapsed into human folly and sought to make Judah strong through ill-advised alliances. However, in the Chronicler’s account of Jehoshaphat’s “battle” against Moab and Ammon, we see in this mixed-bag king one of the most clear and memorable confessions of dependence on the Lord. 

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The Parts We Leave Out

Unless the Lord builds a house,

its builders labor over it in vain;

unless the Lord watches over a city,

the watchman stays alert in vain.

In vain you get up early and stay up late,

working hard to have enough food

Psalm 127

You moved across the country to start a new job. A dear friend has wronged you. Your husband has cancer. Your child is rushed to the hospital. 

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