Follow Me... Wise Men Still Seek Him

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Follow Me... Wise Men Still Seek Him

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More than 2,000 years ago, men of the East gazed upon the heavens and were drawn to a star. They were compelled by something beyond themselves to follow its light. Perhaps, even from their distant realms, they were familiar with an ancient prophecy that spoke of a time when “a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Numbers 24:17 Numbers 24:17I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not near: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.
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). 

They also might have pondered and acted on another prophecy found in Isaiah 60:1-3 Isaiah 60:1-3 1 Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen on you. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise on you, and his glory shall be seen on you. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.
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: “Arise, shine; for your light has come! … The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”

Their account, as given life in Matthew 2, is a story of practical step-by-step faith set in motion to encounter the revelation of that star. Their unwavering purpose as recorded in Matthew 2:2 Matthew 2:2Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
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is summed up in their own words: “For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”

These men weren’t foreign to the protocol worthy of a ruler and thus offered precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the Child they had traveled far to see (Matthew 2:11 Matthew 2:11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
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).

What do these wise men of old have in common with us? We too have been summoned to appear before and worship the same King. How can we tap into their wise example of not only searching for this King, but in following His admonition to us of “Follow Me”?

The voice of God quieted?

Let’s understand that at this point in the story there had been no new Scripture given since the time of the prophet Malachi 400 years earlier. The people of Judea had been under the brutal Roman yoke for nearly three human generations. It was a time of darkness in which there was a bubbling to the surface of anticipation, not too far removed from desperation, for a special deliverer sent by the Almighty. And yet, God Himself appeared quiet in the arena of human affairs.

In one sense there was no secret regarding what was to transpire. God had shared many a verse about the coming of the Messiah. How often had the words of Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah 7:14Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
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been read in Jewish synagogues scattered around the world proclaiming, “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”? 

Had not the passage of Micah 5:2 Micah 5:2But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
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offered much hope? “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”

Yes, the people of that time had much to consider! But comprehend? That was another matter.

Yet a time would come when all the pieces began to come together, and these wise men, with all their accumulated human knowledge, did the wisest thing of all. They:

1. Remained open to God’s lead,

2. Made sure they were available to follow the sign when it came, and

3. Were willing to go the distance wherever it led them.

This made all the difference then, and it makes all the difference now in responding to what God sets before us.

God chose to pitch a tent

As you read this column, autumn will be knocking on our door in the northern hemisphere. It’s in this season of the year—not the winter solstice time frame of Dec. 25—that the King of our lives was born as a human being (download or request our free study guide Holidays or Holy Days: Does It Matter Which Days We Observe? to see the biblical evidence).

And yes, there were proclamations of angels, visiting shepherds from nearby fields, the before-mentioned guiding star to lead the wise men to ultimately find their way to honor the promised Messiah. And while most of mankind missed that first coming, Immanuel came nevertheless. And at the right time— God’s time!

The apostle John, one of the Gospel writers, spells out in crystal-clear fashion how “the Word [who] was with God, and … was God … became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1 John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
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, John 1:14 John 1:14And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
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).

It’s of note that the word “dwelt” here is translated from a form of the Greek word skenoo, which literally means “to dwell in a tent or temporary structure”—”to tabernacle.” John, writing under the inspiration of God’s Spirit, having just informed His audience in the first three verses of the eternal existence of God the Father and God the Word who became the Son, shares this grand statement—that God decided to “pitch a tent” within the wilderness of the human condition!

The one known as the Word surrendered His divine glory and might, choosing to enter time and space in an overcrowded village.

The apostle Paul shares how the silence of the preceding centuries was shattered when he comments in Galatians 4:2 Galatians 4:2But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
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that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman …” God wasn’t late, for the time was ripe! God not only created time but is its master. The wise men would ultimately come to visit the Messiah—knowing perhaps only in part what was occurring, but most importantly acting on what they knew.

How to follow—step by step

Let’s consider some practical step-by-step points regarding their encounter with the young child Jesus that we can emulate in how we travel the spiritual journey set before us.

1. Prepare to listen to God even in what humanly appears to be quiet times. The quietness can seem deafening, but realize that this is when God is often at His busiest in preparing our future.

Let’s face it: Being still is not our favorite pasttime, and yet God says, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10 Psalms 46:10Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
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). The same God declares: “I am God, and there is no other, I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure’ ” (Isaiah 46:9-10 Isaiah 46:9-10 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
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).

2. Look for God’s light where you find it and follow its lead. Like the wise men, we don’t travel alone. Yes, we would all like to view a miraculous star, but that may not be our lot in life. And yet, that guiding light—in the form of God’s Holy Word, the Bible—may be resting on your table or sitting in your lap right now.

Consider how Psalms 119:105 Psalms 119:105Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
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encourages us to view God’s daily message to us as we are reminded to acknowledge to Him, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Never underestimate the power of Scripture to guide us ever closer to the living Jesus Christ.

3. Don’t let anything or anyone distract you from the personal calling set before us by our Heavenly Father regarding what He’s accomplishing through His Son.

The jealous and murderous King Herod tried to trick the wise men into betraying the location of Jesus (Matthew 2:7-8 Matthew 2:7-8 7 Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
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) so he could kill Him, but they would have nothing to do with it and never came back to him—foiling the wicked king’s evil plan (Matthew 2:12-13 Matthew 2:12-13 12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. 13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be you there until I bring you word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
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). So stay focused, be alert and ask God to grant you wisdom as to whom you allow to enter your life and to help you to “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16 Matthew 10:16Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
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) in exiting harmful relationships.

4. Grow in the spiritual habit of giving your best to the King of our lives. We may not have gold, frankincense or myrrh to offer Jesus Christ, but God can make the widow’s mite go a long way (Luke 21:1-4 Luke 21:1-4 1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say to you, that this poor widow has cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in to the offerings of God: but she of her penury has cast in all the living that she had.
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).

The bottom line is this: God doesn’t want or need more things —He wants you . In His “wish list” for precious gifts, the words of the apostle Paul are right at the top: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1 Romans 12:1I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
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).

5. Worship God no matter how small His goodness might be manifested to you at the time. When the wise men visited Jesus in a house (Matthew 2:11 Matthew 2:11And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
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) and found a little boy, they didn’t see a conquering king.

It’s one thing to acknowledge and worship God when His acts are larger than life, but quite another matter when we understand He is often discovered in the snowflake-sized matters of life. Remember God’s admonition to the Jews who became demoralized by the size of the newly built temple in comparison to Solomon’s grand edifice: “For who has despised the day of small things?” (Zechariah 4:10 Zechariah 4:10For who has despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.
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).

Let’s put on a new lens for life and understand that God’s eyes don’t always rejoice in what’s simply big and beautiful, but will always rejoice in what is good, perfect and according to His will.

6. Last but by no means least: Learn to express joy in the journey that God has prepared for you. It can seem neverending and even become frustrating along the way as you sidestep your own “Herods” planted in your path.

Notice the words of Matthew 2:9-10 Matthew 2:9-10 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, see, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
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, as the wise men reached the end of their mission with the star appearing above where the holy Child was: “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.”

Don’t let anyone steal your joy, which is God’s gift planted deep inside of you that no one should touch or rob—including yourself. Have you ever considered what a joy it is to seek after the living God and give Him the gift of yourself on a daily basis? Instead of waiting for Him to come to you, be like the wise men and seek Him out, knock on His door and show Him the personal joy you feel from realizing that He has chosen you to be a part of His divine purpose!      

Still following the star

There yet remains a beckoning star for wise men and women to follow after in today’s world. In Revelation 22:17 Revelation 22:17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
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we see Christ describing His role to us: “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

Why does the ascended Christ liken Himself to “the Bright and Morning Star”? It’s a statement of assuring comfort! The morning star always appears at the moment when it’s darkest and coldest before the dawn breaks.

Indeed, Jesus Christ is “the light of the world” (John 8:12 John 8:12Then spoke Jesus again to them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
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) and “the way” (John 14:6 John 14:6Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.
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) to help us grasp what God has in store for us to behold about Himself. That same Morning Star continues to beckon us with the message of “Follow Me” in the footsteps of the wise men of old who were:

1. Open to God’s lead,

2. Readily available when the signal came, and

3. Willing to go the distance to seek after God in whatever form or manner He showed Himself.

In following Him today, may we all do likewise!

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