Luke 2:1 ¶ In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
Luke 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
I don’t think Joseph was filled with joy when he was summoned to the home of his heritage to pay his taxes. It was a most inconvenient time for this unusual family. Joseph’s wife was carrying a baby in her womb that didn’t come from Joseph. The whispering of rumors in Nazareth were bad enough, taking a trip to Bethlehem on a donkey with a pregnant wife to pay taxes he couldn’t afford to intruders he didn’t like was a little too much. All of these supposed inconveniences were actually the working of the hand of the unseen God. As the old saying goes, the Lord often works in mysterious ways. Here are some interesting comments from John Calvin about God’s providential plan concerning His birth.
“Thus we see that the holy servants of God, even though they wander from their design, unconscious where they are going, still keep the right path, because God directs their steps. Nor is the Providence of God less wonderful in employing the mandate of a tyrant to draw Mary from home, that the prophecy may be fulfilled. God had marked out by his prophet—as we shall afterwards see—the place where he determined that his Son should be born. If Mary had not been constrained to do otherwise, she would have chosen to bring forth her child at home. Augustus orders a registration to take place in Judea, and each person to give his name, that they may afterwards pay an annual tax, which they were formerly accustomed to pay to God. Thus an ungodly man takes forcible possession of that which God was accustomed to demand from his people. It was, in effect, reducing the Jews to entire subjection, and forbidding them to be thenceforth reckoned as the people of God.”
From time to time the Lord will lift the veil in our lives and allow us to see a glimpse of the beauty of Providence. His plans are definite, precise, and indefinable, I can rest in His plans and promises. Does that mean I do nothing? Ask Joseph. He still had plenty to do, he was just covered by the providential plans of God.