Day 3: I See the Light
Long ago, in a land far away, a wealthy, Persian caravan encamps outside Jerusalem. Distinguished, educated men move through the capital city asking about the location of the new king who was announced by an extraterrestrial abnormality.
This is a stop on the wise men’s journey that we often forget about. Why didn’t they go straight to Bethlehem if that’s where the star was leading them? Or was it leading them after all?
In the narrative, everything the wise men say about the star is past tense. They saw it when it rose, but they didn’t say they were following it.
As hard as it is to relinquish the idea, the narrative doesn’t support the notion of a mobile star guiding the wise men until the final leg of their journey. If it had constantly guided them, wouldn’t they have gone straight to Bethlehem? Wouldn’t they have bypassed the directional conference with Herod and company? Wouldn’t it have been strange for them to rejoice exuberantly at seeing the star move ahead of them on their way to Bethlehem if it had been doing so the whole time? And wouldn’t it have been somewhat perilous for a necessarily large caravan to travel through wilderness, at night, for the entire 800 miles?
So how did they know where to go?
This direction likely came from the Hebrew literature, the young scholars, or both, that were tragically carried off to Babylon almost 600 years earlier. Because his God was with him and an excellent spirit was within him, one of those young Jews named Daniel, climbed the ranks of the Eastern wise men under the Babylonian and Persian rule to the point where he was actually ruler over Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar and master of the wise men! So, whether our venturing wise men had read about a royal prophecy in stolen scrolls or learned of it as handed down from a respected, God-fearing wise man, it’s likely they would have known and regarded a Jewish prophecy about a scepter and a star.
Why is this significant?
It shows that God often chooses ordinary and obedient people in unfortunate circumstances to produce extraordinary outcomes. An obscure prophecy, stolen foreign texts and excellent, exiled young people likely directed powerful foreigners, generations later, to the Hebrew, toddler King of the world.
Today, God’s methods are not very different. He has ordained that well lived lives that lend credibility to the written word, act as shining lights to direct current and future generations to find and worship Jesus Christ. In his own words:
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16
This devotional series is inspired by the children’s book, The Christmas Quest.
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