After their secret conference with Herod, the wise men took his advice and turned toward Bethlehem.
Up to this point, one could argue that their getting this far was merely happenstance. Jewish exiles happened to talk about the future promises of their God. These notions happened to work their way down through academic circles in Babylon and later, Persia. A handful of wise men happened to notice a new star. They happened to make an educated guess and head toward Jerusalem. Herod happened to hear about their inquiry. And he happened upon the needed information to send them south.
Were these men merely the beneficiaries of happenstance? Or was God intentionally drawing unconventional seekers from outside His covenant people? What happened next removes all doubt.
“And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was…”
When we see the word “behold”, it carries the connotation of “Wow! Look at this. It’s a big deal!” And this certainly is. If we wanted to believe that the initial star sighting was a cosmic coincidence, we know for certain from this localized and mobile manifestation, that it was not. Natural stars don’t move from north to south. Natural stars in the universe are too distant to pinpoint a solitary house with their light. This same star they saw before is now undoubtedly a supernatural act of God and not a random natural event, confirming for these seekers that He arranged and affirms their coming.
For any Gentile person, this is marvelous news because it’s a concrete example of God’s faithfulness to his promises. To Abraham he said,
“ I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” -Genesis 12:2-3
It was always God’s intention that through his chosen people, Israel, he would gather folks from all people groups to create a treasured, multi-ethnic people – we call it the Church.
Old Testament prophecy and history told us to watch because he would do it. New Testament epistles tell us how to live because he did do it. But here in the middle, at the dawn of the new covenant era, we are simply privileged to watch what God began to do and continues to this day – intentionally including far-away people that He kindly draws near.
This devotional series is inspired by the children’s book, The Christmas Quest.
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