Matthew 2:1‑12 Proclamation of Christ (2)

After the scribes and chief priests had presented their case, Herod was convinced.

“Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’”

Herod was of course disguising what he really wanted to do, so he could manipulate these well-meaning foreigners into doing his leg work for him.

The wise men believed him.

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.”

How were they able to follow a star? Matthew doesn’t tell us, but certainly God was in it, because He makes Himself known to the people who genuinely look for Him.

So let’s stop a minute and think about all the responses Matthew has recorded so far to God’s proclamation that His Son has been born.

The people were bothered, vaguely worried, instead of excited and eager for their promised Messiah. Their ruler was a cruel and capricious king. They didn’t want anything to disturb him because that meant he would, in turn, take it out on them, people would get hurt, there would be upheaval and crackdowns.

Maybe you’re there. You like when the Bible talks about things that already are a part of your life, things that agree with how you view life already. But when you get to a part that doesn’t agree with your views you feel bothered. You feel vaguely worried, sensing this is going to mean upheaval in your life, and it might hurt.

How prepared are you to receive God's guidance and how willing are you to follow it?

Herod was insanely suspicious, always worried that someone was going to try and take away his power and wealth. For all his good qualities as a ruler, this one trait ruined every good thing he did. Instead of him controlling his life, and ruling his realm, this one trait controlled him and made him a tyrant of his realm.

Is there some trait in your personality that is driving everything else, overshadowing your other good qualities because you are not reigning in the excesses of this one trait? Maybe it’s your short temper. Maybe you are a critical person, always pointing out what’s wrong with other people. Maybe it’s your love of shopping, or your love of gossip.

Maybe it’s your fear of people, or fear of anything new. Maybe it’s your self-consciousness. Maybe you are overly sensitive and see insults and slights in just about everything people say to you. Herod believed God’s word, but instead of rejoicing that God had brought the wise men right to his door with this incredible good news, he felt threatened, slighted, insulted by God. He wanted to destroy the fulfillment of God’s promise.

When do I resent God’s word and see it as a threat to my happiness?

Scribes and chief priest Religion was their work. These were the seminarians, ivory tower academics, deeply religious traditionalists, who considered themselves as perfectly keeping the law, above reproach; they knew it all and observed all the religious mores. Bethlehem was only five miles away, but they made no move to see if the Messiah had really been born there so they could worship Him.

As the teachers and law keepers, they didn’t feel the need to be taught anymore, the need to grow anymore; they considered themselves above all that, and above the people who still needed that.

You might find yourself there, Bible study has become a little ho-hum, it’s your work, you get it done, that makes you feel good, but it isn’t igniting your heart. You’re looking around at the people you feel still need it, so you’re keeping up with your Bible study for someone else.

How closely are you watching for God's guidance in your own life?

All passages taken from the New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.