Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
Peace be with you!
The world is a dangerous place to live. There are individuals who do not like you and feel threatened by your minor presence in the world. These individuals will do anything to get rid of you, including destroying your career or ending your life. To these individuals, you stand in their way from a job promotion or someone special. You are a threat.
King Herod gets three visitors who inquirer about the Messiah: who is he? (Matthew 2:2). The three visitors are called magi or wise men and are scientists who study the stars. The wise men have observed a new star in the sky and have followed it to Jerusalem. Based on their question, the wise men had some knowledge of Numbers 24:17. Of course, King Herod has no idea who they are talking about and gathers the chief priests and scribes to find out about the Messiah. (Matthew 2:4). The chief priests and scribes tell King Herod what the scripture says:
“In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:5-6 NRSV)
This information poses a threat to King Herod, because the Messiah would lead the people of Israel away from his rule. King Herod is imaging a rebellion among his people in resistance to his rule. The Messiah is posing a real threat to King Herod who will do anything to stop the Messiah from causing a rebellion. Some Messiah will not out do King Herod.
King Herod sends the three wise men to find the Messiah to pay their respect and asks them to come back to tell him where they found the baby boy so he can do the same (Matthew 2:8).
The wise men go on their way to find and pay respect to the Messiah by following the star (Matthew 2:7, 9). When they find Mary with baby Jesus, the wise men are overcome with joy and give him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:10-11).
The wise men are warned through a dream not to go back to King Herod and go back home a different way (Matthew 2:12). Before he sent them on their way, King Herod asks the wise men when they first observe the star in the sky (Matthew 2:7b). This tells King Herod approximately how old the Messiah is. When the three wise men do not return to Jerusalem to inform him where the Messiah is, King Herod orders all boys under the age of two to be killed (Matthew 2:16). The cruelty of King Herod is aimed at the Messiah out of fear. King Herod views the Messiah as a threat who will be able to overthrow his kingship for he will be the true King of the Jews. However, kingship means sometime different to God and Jesus than the kings in the world. To the kings in the world, kingship means political power and riches, while God and Jesus think of kingship as the responsibility of tending to the needs of the people, his children who will follow Jesus.
Jesus escapes the cruelty of King Herod when Joseph, his father, gets a visit by an angel in a dream who tells him to take his family to Egypt and to remain there until King Herod dies (Matthew 2:14-15). Even as a child, Jesus has people dying on his behalf and escapes death because it is not his time.
There will always be individuals who are jealous of us, or don’t like us. We cannot let their distain prevent us from doing what the Triune God calls us to do. God will always provide a way to fulfill our call. We just need to trust God has a plan, even as we walk in the wilderness and through the darkness. God will lead you to the right place at the right time. We just need to trust him, even when we are confused and lost. The world is a dangerous place – not even Jesus was safe.
Come, oh Lord, come!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for protecting us from the cruelty in the world, like you saved Jesus from King Herod. Help us to follow the path that you are leading us to follow, even in our confusion and frustration. Guide us in the wilderness where the world plots against us. Remind us that you have a plan greater than us. Thank you for guiding and leading us through the wilderness. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. How has God lead you to where you need to be? Where is God calling you to be?
2. How has God protected you?