Controlling Events

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Caesar Augustus was the political force behind many of the events that took place around the time of Jesus’ birth. As the first emperor of Rome, he welded incredible power. Although he personally never visited Palestine, his forces exercised nearly absolute control over that region.

Like many Romans, Augustus was fascinated by religious practices and traditions. One way he expressed this was his interest in the “Sibylline books.” As author James J. O’Donnell explains, these ancient book were “to be consulted when the gods were unhappy.” Their purpose was to “determine what it would take to placate the gods—and thus produce a better future.”

For decades these books were kept locked away, never seen by the public, and only read confidentially. They were controlled by a senior government official who reviewed the books when he felt it was necessary, and reported insights he felt were appropriate.

Augustus had particular interest in maintaining control of these books. After building his personal home, alongside it he erected a temple in honor of the god Apollo, where he brought the Sibylline books. Not unusual for ambitious leaders, Augustus seemed determine to control the way events would unfold, and how his story would be told.

But the story of the birth of Jesus is a powerful demonstration of how God really is the controlling force of history. Nations may plot. Kings and general may scheme. They all may clamor for control and influence, under the illusion that they can shape the future.

The Bible is filled with examples of God’s sovereignty in action. We see how He has declared “the end from the beginning.” How He always accomplishes His purposes (Isaiah 46:10).

This was true during the time of Augustus. And it is true today. In your life, place your trust in God. Seek His wisdom about the present and the future.