Away In A Manger (Coincidental Calling?)

The Calling of Mary and Joseph   Luke 2:1-7, Micah 5:2

Some might say “what a coincidence” this or that worked out the way that it did.  Was it a coincidence or is it God working things together in your life?  There was certainly no    coincidence in the timing of the census forced upon the world and Mary’s due date. “The prophecy in Micah, which was written about 700 years before the birth of Jesus came true the night Jesus was born in that stable. It eliminates all other cities and towns throughout the world as a place in which the Messiah would be born. Since there were two locations known as Bethlehem at the time of Micah’s writing, the addition of “Ephrathah” is significant. It specifies the Bethlehem in Judah, the portion of Israel in which the capital, Jerusalem, was located. Bethlehem was considered “little,” or insignificant, among the cities of Judah, yet would serve as the birthplace of this future ruler. The prophecy     narrows the possibilities to one tiny village, and throughout the span of the past 27 centuries, since the time of the prophet Micah, Bethlehem is credited as being the birthplace for the only person who is widely accepted as being the Messiah, by people throughout the world, and that person is Jesus Christ.”

Here are some other “coincidences” regarding Bethlehem:

  • Bethlehem in Hebrew means “House of Bread” — Jesus declared Himself “The Bread of Life” John 6:35
  • Bethlehem was the birthplace of King David, most Hebrew kings were born in Jerusalem — David was king of the Jews/ Jesus was called “King of the Jews” Mark 15:2

What appeared to be mere coincidence in Mary and Joseph’s was in reality a plan of God.  How about the “coincidences” in your life?

Coincidences and the Bible Romans 8:28

The word coincidence is used only once in the New Testament, and it was by Jesus Himself in the Parable of the Good SamaritanIn Luke 10:31, Jesus said, “And by a coincidence a certain priest was going down in that way, and having seen him, he passed over on the opposite side.” The word coincidence is translated from the Greek word synkyrian, which is a combination of two words: sun and kurios. Sun means “together with,” and kurious  means “supreme in authority.” So a biblical definition of coincidence would be “what occurs together by God’s providential arrangement of circumstances.”

 What appears to us as random chance is in fact overseen by a sovereign God who knows the number of hairs on every head (Luke 12:7). Jesus said that not even a sparrow falls to the ground without our Father’s notice (Matthew 10:29). In Isaiah 46:9–11, God states unequivocally that He is in charge of everything: “I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ From the east I summon a bird of prey; from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that I will bring about; what I have planned, that I will do.” When we consider life events, we tend to classify them as “important” or “unimportant.” Many people have no problem believing that God is in charge of the “big things” but assume that such a big God would not trouble Himself with the seemingly miniscule events of our everyday lives. However, that understanding is colored by our human limitations and not supported by Scripture. For God, there are no unimportant events. He does not need to conserve His strength because His power is limitless. His attention is never divided. If the Lord God tracks every sparrow then nothing is too small for His attention. He is often called “the Almighty” (Genesis 17:1; Exodus 6:3; Job 13:3), a name denoting unrestricted power and absolute dominion. Citing coincidence is how we humans explain unexpected events and surprise meetings. But just because we are taken by surprise does not mean that God is. Scripture is clear that God allows sinful humans to make mistakes and reap the consequences of those   mistakes, but only a sovereign God could also promise that He will make “all things work together for the good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). In ways known only to God, He takes even our mistakes and unplanned events and weaves them together to fulfill His purposes.

Gods Plan and You Proverbs 19:21, Proverbs 16:33

In Old Testament times, God often used the Urim and Thummin, pieces of the high priest’s ephod, to help give guidance and instruction (Leviticus 8:8; 1 Samuel 30:7–8). In the New Testament, we see the apostles trusting God’s sovereignty when they cast lots to choose a new disciple to replace Judas (Acts 1:26). These means of communication were really insignificant.  It was God who was guiding. He can use the most insignificant people (Mary & Joseph), city (Bethlehem) or event (census) for His purposes. God does not seem to allow for “coincidence.” The administration of the universe is not based on chance. The Bible says that God’s purposes will prevail and that He is in control of even the most      random event (Proverbs 19:21). Proverbs 16:33 says, “every decision is from the LORD.” What may seem insignificant to us may be in fact a result of God’s omniscient power    working on our behalf to accomplish His will in our lives. Let Him work in Yours!

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