Day 10: In the Presence of a King
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Matthew 2:9-12)
How miraculously and graciously the hand of God directed these Magi, leading them directly to the Christ child. How joyful they were in God’s leading!The signs of God’s presence cannot help but fill us with great joy and peace. I am reminded of God’s Word to Joshua:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1-2)
There is continual joy in God’s presence. I am reminded of King David’s words:
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:11)
God enabled these wise men to do that which they themselves were are unable to do by their own abilities and devices. No compass or GPS could have led them there. Even King Herod was befuddled over the whereabouts of the King of the Jews. As we follow after the Master, God directs, enables, and equips us through His power just as He did these Magi. I am reminded of Paul’s words:
I can do everything through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
What in the world might have been the reaction of the Magi to the humble abode in which the star led them to discover the King of Kings? Surely they had to have been at the very least a little taken aback when they saw a cottage in lieu of a castle. Yet we discover in our verses quite the opposite. Undeterred, they humbly present themselves in worship first, then their gifts second. Interestingly, the Bible tells us they bow down in worship to the Lord Jesus even though they had not given such honor to Herod. Neither a castle nor a crown makes a man a king.
These Magi present their gifts of gold and incense and myrrh to young Jesus. What on earth could Mary have been thinking while all this was taking place? In the eastern nations when one did homage to their kings they brought gifts from their own country. The Proverb rings true:
A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great. (Proverbs 18:16)
The gifts presented to Jesus had symbolic value as well as monetary value. Gold was offered because Jesus is King; incense was offered because Jesus is God and God was honored with the smoke of incense; and finally myrrh was offered to Jesus as a Man who would die as myrrh was used for embalming dead bodies. These gifts were a timely relief sent by God to Joseph and Mary in their present poor condition. This probably helped them when they headed towards Egypt. God also protected these Magi, warning them in a dream not to go back to King Herod.
Take It to Heart
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)