Ok. We left off in our story with the men from the East at Herod’s court asking directions. Herod has just gathered anyone who could have any knowledge of what these men were talking about. And he was shaking in his sandals worried.
First off I want to note that he didn’t think their claims of a new king being born to be bogus. My bible says, “He inquired of them where the Christ was to be born” (verse 4b). He knew this King was to be the Christ! I don’t know if he knew the whole significance of the Christ, but he knew it spelled disaster for his rule.
The men he had gathered looked to the scriptures for their answers. They found exactly what was requested of them because God had already told them what and where this miracle was going to take place. This gave Herod half the answer to his problem.
I want to step outside the story for a moment and look closely at the titles given in this search. The wise men sought the “king of the Jews;” Herod ask for “the Christ;” and the scribes and chief priests offered “a ruler who will shepherd my people.” I don’t have a Greek, Hebrew or Latin translation (and wouldn’t know how to use it if I did) but how did they know they were all looking for the same thing? Did they use the same Greek/Hebrew/Latin word? Did God impart this knowledge to them during this encounter? How did they all agree on the significance of this child?
Back to the story. Herod got his answer from the religious leaders and then sent them all away. Why weren’t they “over the moon” with excitement? They had just realized their Savior had been born. They should have been jumping for joy and searching to honor him themselves. Why did they meekly go back to their regular duties? Herod kept his cool in their presence though. They had no idea what he was going to do next.
Herod met secretly with the wise men to give them the information they sought. He didn’t just deliver their information but probed a little more for some he wanted. He had an inkling that these men wouldn’t come back his way, so he had to be prepared to defend his future just in case. Our travelers never suspected a thing when Herod asked when the star first appeared or that he was being dubious when he asked them to let him know when they found the child so he could “worship Him” too. They took him at his word.
When our wise men left Herod their star was back. They followed it diligently now all the way. They knew the city they were looking for, but it even showed them the exact house. They were overjoyed to have their star back and for it to give them explicit directions. They KNEW they had found the one they were seeking. They KNEW they were in the presence of royalty and the future of the nation.
His parents were with Him when they worshiped him. They didn’t look anything like royalty, but that didn’t deter their belief in who He was or was to become. They gave the precious gifts they brought with them on their journey to this unassuming family. They gave Him gold, frankincense and myrrh.
They had completed their quest and were ready to return to their own homes. They were still excited about their find and wanted everyone else to know. They had planned to return to Herod and share the good news with him but God intervened. He warned them not to return to Herod. Did God tell them why or did He just say don’t? Whatever He said it did the job and they went home a different way.
Herod, the chief priests, the scribes, and all the other learned men of Israel had been alerted to His presence. If they had actually wanted to worship Him they would have come along on the last leg of the journey. Once again, they missed the obvious right in front of them and kept on living in their own ignorance.
Why did the wise men have to ask directions in the first place? Had it dimmed as they got close to Judea earlier or had they simply stopped following it and followed their own ideas? If they had followed it completely the outcome for MANY young children and their families might have different. But this story had already been written many years before.
I know my life doesn’t rate any prophecies in the bible but how much of it has “already been written”? You gave each of us free will but You also know the outcome of our choices. That ALONE blows my mind! You KNEW the wise men would seek directions from Herod. You KNEW the disaster that would come from it. You TOLD what was going to happen and did nothing to change the course of events. Why??
I started to ask if my life held such places of disastrous choices and foreknowledge, but I know I have already walked into many such conundrums. I wish I would have listened to the warnings being shouted out to me! Why didn’t I? Because, just like all those learned men, I was too busy going about in my own ways that I missed the obvious right in front of me. Like the wise men, I stopped watching “the star” and followed my own plans. “You got me this far, I can take it from here.” SO WRONG!!! Please God direct my eyes back to where they belong. Stupid free will anyway. But without it how would I know that following You was my choice and not some programed instinct? I want my walk and worship to be REAL so I will live with making more mistakes and course corrections. It’s amazing too how much we actually grow from our mistakes. Help me learn the lessons I really need along the way. I PRAY with ALL MY HEART that my actions will NEVER have the devastating consequences of that visit with Herod. Protect those around me from my blunders please God! Thank You that Your plans can NEVER be derailed, no matter what.