“Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had 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 gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” (NKJV)
At the beginning of this chapter, we are told about how wise men (who may have been astrologers from Persia or southern Arabia) followed a star and came looking for the “king of the Jews”. Even Gentile leaders acknowledged Jesus as the “King of the Jews” and sought to worship Him! But when King Herod found out about the birth of the baby King, he was ‘disturbed’. He called the Jewish priests and teachers to him, and was even more disturbed when he heard that this was all a fulfillment of ancient Jewish prophecies. Then he secretly spoke to the foreign wise men and asked them for more details about the time the star first appeared; he wanted to calculate the age of the baby they were seeking.
King Herod (Herod the Great, 37 BC-4 BC) was a man of blood, who ruthlessly murdered his wife, his three sons, his mother-in-law, brother-in-law, uncle and many others, as well as the babies in Bethlehem! Although he told the wise men to come back to him once they knew the whereabouts of the baby King, His only intention was to destroy the Child. If the wise men had done as he requested, he would have sent soldiers against the baby Jesus and His family without a second thought. But God is always streets ahead of the devil! He warned the wise men in a dream, which made them avoid Herod, and take another route back home.
Friend, the Lord is giving us a key here for walking in the joy of the Lord in the coming year. When the Magi finally came to the place the baby Jesus was, we are told that they were overjoyed!
1) They bowed down and worshipped Him.
2) They opened their treasures and presented them to Him.
Each of the gifts has a special significance, but let us focus on the fact that they gave Jesus what was precious. They gave Him their treasures. They came a long way in search of Jesus, but once they came to the house, it was not enough to have found Him. They fell on their knees and worshipped Him wholeheartedly, giving Him what was truly valuable to them! They surrendered their lives to Him, and acknowledged Jesus as Lord. They submitted everything to Him because they knew they had encountered the King of kings.
The secret of walking in joy is that we take time to bow down to Jesus and to submit always to His Lordship over our lives; to give time to worship at His feet and experience His presence and sweet anointing. In the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11) and the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:9). It is a joy to find yourself in the presence of Jesus. He is the King of Joy! It feels so right to surrender everything and bow down and worship at His feet. To know His Lordship and rule in my life gives me such a sense of security and of peace – He fills my heart with His joy!
When the wise men gave to Jesus what was precious to them, it pleased the heart of God, not because God seeks our money or valuables, but because He seeks to have our hearts. Matthew 6:21 says “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When we offer up our treasures to Jesus, that is where our heart will be – in Him and with Him! He becomes the top priority, and the most precious treasure! When we put Him first, and seek Him and His Kingdom and its righteousness, we can be sure that God will surely add to us everything we could ever need (Matthew 6:33). Whatever issue you may be facing, you will never have to worry about tomorrow if you make Jesus your top priority. His blessing and provision is upon your life!
Friend, as we move towards the end of another year, God is calling us to a time of re-dedication and re-consecration. He seeks our first fruits, our first love, our faithful commitment. It is a good time to ask yourself where you stand with the Father. Of course He loves you and always will, but have you been a child to Him this year, this month? Have you given Him the first place in your life? Have you done what pleased His heart? If you were one of the wise men, would you be able to lay your greatest treasure at His feet in worship?
In the same way the enemy tried to destroy the baby King, and the plans God had through His life for mankind, the devil has tried hard to destroy the hopes and plans that God gave you at the beginning of this year. His mission is to steal, kill and destroy. He tried to knock you down, but you’re still standing and moving ahead! He tried to stop God birthing new things through you, but you are still loving and serving the King. When God is for you, no one can succeed against you (Romans 8:31)! In the same way the Lord warned the wise men in their dream, God’s mighty hand has been upon you through this year, protecting you, healing you, providing for you, directing you, even times when you were not aware of His presence. As Herod lied to the wise men, pretending that he wanted to worship the baby King, the enemy constantly lies to people, deceiving them into believing they are sick, weak, sad or bound. I pray today that the blessed Holy Spirit will give you the discernment to see what is of God and what is of the enemy, and to say ‘no’ to His lies daily that you may walk in victory. There is a calling for you. There is much power in the Spirit and in the Word for you.
God loves you and wants to do great things in your life. He will help you to yield to His purposes, and surrender to His Spirit. As you trust Him, and lay all of your hopes and dreams at His feet, you will see the future take shape before you, as He begins to lead you step by step into an awesome tomorrow. He will make a much better job of managing your life than you ever could!
May this Advent season be filled with the peace and the presence of the King of kings. May you worship Him and feel all the glory and goodness of His sweetness filling your life. May the joy of Jesus flow through everything you say and do. He is the reason for the season, and your Father has plans for you!
Minoli Haththotuwa, 05 December 2011