Good morning, friends. April 15th. A date that stirs up fear and anxiety in some and excitement and anticipation in others. It all depends on the answer to this one question: Will I have to pay or will I get a refund this year?
Taxes are a necessary part of life, a privilege of living in this country as a free citizen. But more than that, we see in Scripture that God even uses taxes to accomplish His Divine purposes. Think about it. What sent Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, where prophecy would be fulfilled in the birth of Christ? The King James version of Luke 2:1 says this:
“And it came to pass in those days that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.” Other versions translate it as “that all the world should be registered.”
But registered for what? For taxation purposes! Yet, it was all part of God’s Sovereign plan that Scripture would be fulfilled and His Son would make His entrance into this sin-cursed world. Later, Jesus Himself spoke about taxes in Matthew 22:21 when He said,
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”
We all know what we are required to give to “Caesar”. But do we know what we are required to give to God? Micah 6:8 tells us:
“What does the Lord require of you? Act justly. (Do what is right.) Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God.”
What a wonderful world it would be if we all obeyed those three simple, yet difficult imperatives! Not just difficult, but impossible, in our own strength. But what an amazing God we serve, who gives us the command and then daily provides us with the strength necessary to obey the command! Psalm 68:19 says,
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.”
This week we are reminded once again of the work of Christ on our behalf. He died on the cross, suffering agony that we cannot even begin to imagine. He spent His entire life walking this road to the cross, knowing full well the pain He would face. Yet He chose to walk that road out of His love for you, for me. This quotation from the Joy Devotional book I read this morning really hit home:
“Not one of us deserves to have the God of the universe go to a cross and pay that awful penalty for us so that we might be forgiven and have eternal life.” (Bryant Wright)
We don’t deserve it, but He still paid that price. Is it then too difficult a task for us to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God?
This week, as you think about the Savior’s sacrifice on your behalf, as you think about His finished work, His death AND His Resurrection, let it drive you to walk humbly with Him, love Him, show mercy to others, and do what is right – all for His glory!