12 Days of Christmas: Day 9
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.
No doubt we could go down some serious rabbit trails with these verses and get nowhere fast. It would be very easy to major on the minors and seek answers to such questions as: Exactly how many Magi came searching for the King of Kings; from what country did they actually come; how did they know the star they saw was “his star”; why were people so ignorant in Jerusalem regarding the “desire of all nations” coming into the world who was now already around two years old; why was His birth apparently so obscured and ignored by His own people who held the prophecy in their hands; and on and on the questions might go. Sometimes the economy of words in Scripture leaves us hanging with the three-year-old’s one-word question of “Why?” I am reminded of the words in Deuteronomy:
The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those that are revealed belong to us and our descendants forever, so that we might obey all the words of this law.
Rather than delve into the obscure and subjective, the truth I see blazingly confronting us in this passage is the importance and priority of worship. Indeed, these verses beg the question to us all: Do we willingly seek to worship our Lord as these wise Magi did?
The motivation for worship and praise of our Father in heaven is limitless indeed. We worship God for who He is, in the fullness of His Majesty. We praise God for all His many attributes: His holiness, His perfection, His loving kindness, His tender mercy, His compassion, His constant faithfulness, His gentleness, His omnipotent power, His omniscience, His creativity, His vastness. We worship Him for all He does; for all the blessings He bestows upon us.
While these motivations for worship are worthy and most acceptable, I believe the highest form of worship comes from the lips of those who choose to praise Him even when the circumstances we find ourselves in are not what we desire. It is when we receive a “No” to our leanings and wants in lieu of getting a “Yes.” It is a praise that flows from lips that choose to trust Him with everything that concerns. When we choose to do this, in my opinion, it is a proclamation of supreme faith. I am reminded of the words of the prophet Habakkuk:
When the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines; when the olive trees do not produce, and the fields yield no crops; when the sheep disappear from the pen, and there are no cattle in the stalls, I will rejoice because of the LORD; I will be happy because of the God who delivers me!
We stand on the promise of Romans 8:28. All things are not innately good, but as believers we hold to the assurance of Scripture that all things will work for our good:
And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.
“Could you ask for a better promise? It is better that all things should work for my good than all things should be as I would wish to have them. All things might work for my pleasure and yet might all work my ruin. If all things do not always please me, they will always benefit me. This is the best promise of this life.” —Charles Spurgeon
“Reader, let’s put this question—do you worship the Lord with gladness? Let’s show to the people of the world, who think our religion to be slavery, that it is to us a delight and a joy! Let our gladness proclaim that we worship a good Master.” —Charles Spurgeon
Worship the Lord with joy!
Enter his presence with joyful singing!
Read the Word
2:1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem 2:2 saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 2:3 When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. 2:4 After assembling all the chief priests and experts in the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 2:5 “In Bethlehem of Judea,” they said, “for it is written this way by the prophet:
2:6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are in no way least among the rulers of Judah,
for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
2:7 Then Herod privately summoned the wise men and determined from them when the star had appeared. 2:8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and look carefully for the child. When you find him, inform me so that I can go and worship him as well.” 2:9 After listening to the king they left, and once again the star they saw when it rose led them until it stopped above the place where the child was. 2:10 When they saw the star they shouted joyfully. 2:11 As they came into the house and saw the child with Mary his mother, they bowed down and worshiped him. They opened their treasure boxes and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 2:12 After being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back by another route to their own country.