A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones . . . A discerning man keeps wisdom in view but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” (Proverbs 17:22, 24)
Wisdom is a divine gift that is acquired by “seeking” Wisdom is the ability to judge correctly and to follow the best course of action, based on the knowledge and the understanding of the heart. Biblical wisdom comes from humility in our reverence to God. They who are wise are seeking to follow and obey.
Would you consider yourself wise?
I myself haven’t been asked that question in my twenty-six years in this world…I’ve been called a wiseacre, but don’t consider myself wise. Would you?
In the biblical sense of the term, God calls His children wise…wise beyond human understanding.
The Bible speaks of many wise men and women who sought after the Lord. Men such as Enoch (Genesis 5:22), Noah (Genesis 6:8, 22), and David (Psalm 23:1). Women such as Ruth (Ruth 1:16) and Anna (Luke 2:36-37). There are those like Nicodemus (John 3:1-2) who acknowledged the goodness of the Lord in spite of their own lack of faith and sought to know more of Him. Then…there were the wise men who came from the East to see the King of Israel after His birth.
But…the wise men? They weren’t called wise because of the knowledge they possessed or their stature in society. No. They were wise because of who they sought, how and what they gave and by how they lived and listened to God.
The Wise Still Come: In verses 1-10, we see these men (no number given…we assume three due to the number of gifts presented) setting out on a journey (a lengthy one) to follow a star that had been prophesied…that it would rise in the East. Upon arriving in Judah, they followed the direction of the star to the place where the boy Jesus was. These men were willing to follow/go wherever necessary to see the Lord. Are we willing to make a similar sacrifice in our own lives? Do we trust in His Word in such a way that we will alter our course when necessary?
The Wise Still Worship: “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2
Many today think it an awful thing to travel a bit to attend worship service (harsh, but true). For these men, it was a lengthy journal (probably many months…possibly a couple of years), not a jaunt around the corner. We’re not sure what they knew about Jesus, but they had studied the scriptures and knew that it was worthwhile to seek out this King. Their main goal was to come and worship.
When they finally arrived, they fell at His feet and gave gifts in abundance…items that were not cheap – gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Are we willing to be like these wise men? Are we willing to go the distance; to do whatever it takes when it comes to our relationship with God? Are we willing to freely express our worship to Him, not caring what the world around us thinks? Do we truly know Who the Lord is and why He is worthy of worship? Are we willing to make the sacrifice?
The Wise Still Give:
Let me pause a moment to mention the symbolism in these gifts:
- Frankincense represents the death of Jesus. In His day, incense was burned as it was believed that it carried prayers to heaven, the sweet aroma that was pleasing to God. In a similar way, Paul teaches in Ephesians (5:2) that we are to be an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma, signifying the connection between the death of Jesus and frankincense.
- Myrrh represents His burial. In John’s gospel, Jesus’ body was anointed with myrrh for His burial, fulfilling the prophecy in Psalm 45:6-8.
- Gold represents His resurrection and just as gold neither rusts nor shows any signed of aging, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
These wise men freely gave and, as I mentioned before, these gifts were not cheap. It also wasn’t common for men of a high rank in society to bring gifts for someone beneath their status. Jesus was a child, He was a King, and so they honored Him with these valuable gifts from their own respective countries. Likewise, we are also called to bring gifts to the Lord.
In Romans 12:1, Paul pens that we should give our bodies to God because of all He has done for us; that they should be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind that He would find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. We need to give Him our most valuable possession: our lives.
The Wise Still Listen:
Recall what Herod had told these men: They were to return once they found the place where this King lay…so he could come worship Him too. This was part of Herod’s plot to kill the threat to His kingdom…and in turn, these men were forewarned by an angel of God to return to their homelands another way.
It’s wonderful for us to have made the effort to assemble in worship.
It’s great that we are attentive in seeking and pleasing God.
It’s appropriate that we offer everything we are.
But it’s not enough.
It’s not enough that we reserve all of this for Sunday mornings and holidays. We need to be in a constant state of worship; giving our all every single day that God has given us.
When we depart from the assembly and fail to heed the divine instruction on our way, in every single portion/aspect of our lives, the rest is for nothing. Serving Him is not just when we gather for worship. Consider how the lives of these men were changed after their encounter with Christ, the King. In the same way, our lives should reflect the time spent worshiping God in every area of our daily lives.
Seek Him first.
O, come let us adore Him
O, come let us adore Him
O, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
Text: Matthew 2:1-12