Wise Men; December 26, 2020

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 in the east and have come to worship him.”

I touch on this just about every Christmas message I’m allowed to give, but the Magi were remarkable on several points. In the first place, they were indeed scholars, aware of various ancient texts not only long before the Internet, but even long before the printing press. On top of that, they were also observant, tracking the heavens long before telescopes. They were also discerning, making the connections between what they read and what they observed. However, their greatest asset, and actually the one that is easiest for us to imitate, is that they were sensitive to the voice of God. That one doesn’t take great intellect or even good eyesight, but rather a heart that is humble before God, ready and eager to hear what He has to say, to be obedient to Him. These men – traditionally three, because of the number of their gifts, but anywhere from two up – went to considerable expense and trouble to follow through on what they felt God had shown them. And, having “hit the jackpot,” so to speak, on hearing God, they didn’t say, “That’s enough,” but kept listening, and so knew not to go back to Herod after leaving Bethlehem. (verse 12) We may desire wisdom and powers of observation, but our greatest goal should be to hear and obey God. Thankfully we have the Bible, freely available in most countries in almost countless translations, so it is no problem at all to know what God has said. The issue then becomes one of being familiar enough with what He has said to recognize what He is saying. There are plenty of lying spirits running around, but God isn’t going to contradict what He’s already said, so being firmly grounded in Scripture is the best course. If we will do that, seeking God at every turn, we too can be Wise Men!

I was blessed with good genes and a good environment in the IQ department, and as a photographer I’m more observant than many, but I realize all that is of no real benefit if I fail to seek and listen to God. There too I had the huge advantage of the example of parents who were fully dedicated to following God. Even as I know they were no more “perfect” than I am, they were examples to many, and I could certainly do worse than following their example. I in turn desire to be an example to those who are watching me, inspiring them to seek God and listen to Him as well. That’s why I place so much emphasis on daily devotions. Sometimes it seems like those who need to hear God most urgently are the ones who won’t make time to read the Bible and pray each day! Human compulsion doesn’t work in such cases, so I need to pray that the Holy Spirit would give them a thirst for the Word to the point that they will have an inner compulsion, and so follow through and really “get on speaking terms” with God. When they get to that point, I have succeeded as a pastor.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help me be one of Your many “wise men,” following You myself and leading others to do so as well, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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