Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
In a private meeting with the wise men, King Herod determined when the star first appeared. He wanted to know how old the child was by now. He also instructed them to go find the child and report to him so he could go worship him, too. God knows the difference between true and false worship. Herod didn’t want to worship the newborn king; he wanted to destroy the competition. And he was trying to use the wise men to achieve his ends. God knows. That’s why God warned the wise men in a dream to return by a different route and not report to Herod.
No matter how difficult your journey in life, God always has a few surprises for you. Imagine having a quiet day with your son when there’s a knock at the door. You open the door and several royal dignitaries from faraway lands greet you. They have come to give luxurious gifts to your child. Now that’s a surprise!
The wise men offered true worship. This wasn’t because they bowed down and gave him gifts. Their worship was true because it came from the heart. They felt genuine awe at the sight of the newborn king with his mother. After all, they had traveled for about two years and miraculously found the One the star had led them to find. The whole experience must have culminated in a great sense of awe and reverence for the divine child and the powers of the universe that led them to him.
God has chosen us to worship. It’s not a matter of going through the right motions or singing the right words. True worship is a matter of heartfelt awe. Worship is being awestruck by God. It’s having a “wow” rise up spontaneously in our hearts. It’s immersing ourselves in God’s grace and rejoicing at the miraculous things he does in our lives time after time.
Wow, Lord. You are awesome. I can’t believe you led the wise men on a cross-country journey for two years and then specifically guided them to the exact home of the Christ child. I trust you to lead and guide me, too, and I will express my awe and devotion at your great wonders and miracles. I open my heart to believe you can and will do miraculous things in my life and through me to others. I’m only beginning to appreciate your wonderful works. You are truly worthy of praise.
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