Sunday, December 12, 2010

Wise Men, Part I of III

Wise Men, Part I of III
December 13, 2010
Matthew 2:1-2 "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'"

A compass is a simple tool that has been used for thousands of years, giving navigation and direction to those intent on finding their way. It has a needle that always points North, fixated in magnetic direction no matter how many degrees you rotate the dial. If a traveler follows specific coordinates, always being mindful of North, then a final destination of success is guaranteed. This is true no matter how an explorer is traveling: by sea, by plane, by car, and even by camel. Enter the Magi who probably traveled by camel. Magi were recorded in the Bible as men who came from the Far East, possibly the Orient, following a star to where the Christ Child was born. These Magi, aka Wise Men, didn't use a compass to guide them, but instead used a specific star, directed by God to lead them to their final destination.

The Magi were clearly learned men, hence the commonly used term Wise Men. They were aware of Jewish scripture, so they had probably read the first five books of the Old Testament, and probably most of the writings from the prophets. They had studied the Scriptures enough to know and understand prophecy about the Christ Child as well as His birth and destiny here on earth. Whether these men were true God-fearing men is not known, but they certainly were philosophers who had studied religion. It is interesting that these men, not known as Jews but as "Magi from the east", had enough knowledge of God and His scriptures to be alert to the birth of Jesus. They paid attention and were led by a star to the place of the nativity. My question is: why was there not a single Jew who paid attention to the star or was looking for it? Why weren't any Jews watching and waiting for this sign to lead them to the nativity? Why did it take "Magi from the east" to follow the star? If the "Magi from the east" could see the star, why didn't anyone else see it? Would you have followed the star? Would I?

While we will never know how these Wise Men came to discover the star, leading to the nativity, it still speaks volumes on paying attention to direction. You and I, like the Jews back then, don't pay much attention to direction. If we did, we would always be submissive to the leading of the Lord and always be paying attention to His signs of direction in our lives. If we were like the Wise Men, we would always be alert and headed in the right direction, living our lives on a path to Jesus and success. You need direction in your life, we all do, but seldom are we so confident as these Wise Men who followed the Lord's leading. If only we were as vigilant as the Magi, vigilant enough to be called Wise Men, always looking for and submitting to the leading and direction of the Lord.

While there may not be a star above your head, there is a God in Heaven who represents true North on your compass in life. If you fix your compass on Him, always being mindful of His rightful place in your life, you will reach your immediate and final destinations with success. God should be the constant in your life; no matter how many degrees you turn, He will always be in the same place. This is so comforting to know in the midst of the specific direction you need for your current situation. I have no doubt you need and want direction, God's direction for you and your life. But you must be fixated on Him in order to know the path you should take. It will be the same path the first Wise Men took, a path leading you to worship the Lord. Your life, if you stay on the path God has for you, will become a living act of worship unto the Creator. But you must be like the Wise Men who saw His star and traveled to worship Him. You must look for His direction no matter where it might lead you.

1. Have you ever been mistaken for a Wise Man?
2. How can you fixate your spiritual compass on Him, maintaining His direction for your life?
3. How can you seek His "star" for the specific direction you need right now?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Ps 94:8, Ps 119:98, Ps 121:1-3, Pr 12:15, Pr 13:20, Pr 18:15, Is 29:13-15, Dan 12:2-3, Eph 5:14-16, Matthew 2, 2 Tim 3:15

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