My chronological reading through the Bible brought me to the birth of Jesus last week. In using this SPECK tool to help me study the Bible, I spent more time thinking about why and how the wise men are good examples to follow as I re-read this story everyone knows. (think: we three kings of orient are, bearing gifts we traverse a far... following yonder star.)
They were seeking Jesus. "Wise men from the east came to Jerusalem saying, 'Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.' ... Herod sent them to Bethlehem saying, 'Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me the word that I too may come and worship him.' After listening to the king [Herod], they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was." (Matthew 2:1-2, 8-9)
They were expectant. "When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy" (vs. 10) They hadn't even gotten to Jesus yet, but when they finally were outside the place where they knew he was, their hearts filled with joy. Can you imagine their excitement and the anticipation?
They worshiped him. "And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him." (vs 11) I have a feeling they didn't have too much idle ice-breaker chit chat. I imagine them walking in the door, looking at Jesus, looking at his mother, and then falling on their faces and worshiping the King of Kings, this innocent toddler. (Notice, they didn't worship Mary...)
They fell down before him. "And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him." (vs 11) As I read this, I heard the Lord whisper to me - do you take your access to God's throne for granted? Because I don't have to travel hundreds of miles by camel. Yet, sometimes I don't even make the effort to get up and get to my couch in the morning to get to Jesus. I have unlimited access to the God of the Universe, the Savior of the World. Lord, help me not to forget this.
They brought him what they had. "Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh." (vs 11)
They listened. Their spirits were sensitive to God's leading. "And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way." (vs 12) We don't get much information from this passage. I wonder if they were hesitant? I mean, it'd be easy to chalk up the dream to a weird dream. (Although, probably if God shows up in your dreams it's pretty obvious.) It be easy to second guess themselves. I'm guessing they took the most direct route on the way to Jesus, so returning to their own country another way could be hundreds of extra miles (by donkey? or camel? or foot?) They obviously took God seriously. And their hearts and minds were open to his spirit's leading.
God's Word is life-giving. It's so full of truth and guidance! Whether the passage is new to you that day or you've read it 100 times. Lord, help me to be like the wise men who eagerly sought to meet their Savior.