SEEKING THE LORD (3 Lessons Learnt from the Magi)
Most of us are seeking God in one way or the other. That is wonderful. We are hopeful that our quest will bring us to faith, will usher in closeness to God for us. That is part of the reason many participate in religious festivals and perform the established rituals on such occasions.
But faith or a relationship with God is not all about celebration and festivals. It goes beyond noise and activity. For faith to be meaningful, it requires personal commitment. It’s not a lost-in-the-crowd kind of thing. In the gospels, we are told how certain wise men from the East came seeking Jesus, the newly-born Messiah.
“1. Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
2. Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:1-2, 11
In this post, we look at three lessons on seeking God we can learn from how the wise men sought for the baby Jesus.
3 LESSONS ON SEEKING GOD LEARNT FROM THE MAGI
1. Seek the Lord through the divinely established route: The Magi followed Jesus’ star. They were not Israelites but God graciously gave them a sign according to what they were familiar with. We may not have been born into Christian homes but God can reveal Himself to us through what we know. I’ve heard of Muslims who have been converted after seeing visions of Jesus. These are special circumstances where God in His sovereignty chooses to do something peculiar.
The point is: the Magi followed the star and worshipped the new born King. As we have noted, God can decide to give signs to those who have not had the truth presented to them. Some may follow those signs and meet the Lord while others may reject them and hold onto falsehood.
But are we to be looking for signs in the sky or other spectacular phenomena to reach God today? Are we to be seeking Him through means of our own devising? No! God has revealed Himself in the flesh through Jesus and has communicated this revelation to us through the Bible.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” – Hebrews 1:1-3.
Now if we seek God, we come to Him through the way He has prepared. We don’t hope to reach God through saints (including Mary, the mother of Jesus), myriad deities, and New Age practices. Syncretism is the pathway to confusion, not to God.Syncretism is the pathway to #confusion, not to #God. #quote #Jesus #Messiah Click To Tweet
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” – 1 Timothy 2:5
“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12
Verse 10 of Acts, Chapter 4 clearly shows that the name referred to is “the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth”.
We seek God through His revealed word in the Bible and gospel messages built on it.We seek God through His revealed word in the Bible and gospel messages from it. Click To Tweet
2. Seek God with the intent to worship Him: The wise men were not driven by idle curiosity or fascination with the novel. They didn’t want to acquire bragging rights to being the first to see the Messiah, to actually be in His presence. They were not coming for answers and solutions to a multitude of problems. They simply came to worship Him.
Why do we approach God? Why do we seek Him? Paul, the apostle, was forbidden from disclosing what he saw when he was caught up to the third heaven (2 Corinthians 12:1-4). Unless God gives you a specific message to others, what transpires when you are with Him is not for casual talk or amusement. And while God is willing and capable of granting our petitions, they should not be our major reasons for seeking God. Otherwise, we may abandon God when we get the reliefs we seek or we may be tempted to seek them elsewhere when it appears that God is delaying or He is disinclined to tackling our issues.We should not seek God just to have Him solve our problems but to worship Him. Click To Tweet
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” – Revelation 4:11
Worship is God’s due. This is what we were made for. When we put that first, the meeting of our needs naturally follows.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33
(You can click on the title to watch a lyric video of one of my favourite worship songs, “Made to Worship” by Chris Tomlin)
3. Present your best treasure to God once you find Him: Some of us come to God with our substance (money and other material goods). We are willing to part with those but we are not willing to give all our lives to Him. The gifts the Magi gave to the Christ were the best, not just because they were expensive but because they were tokens or expressions of their worship.
The best gift to give to God is our hearts, in admiration and total surrender. That means we become His completely and live in obedience to Him, the heart being symbolic of our whole lives. Anything less is unacceptable to God. Otherwise, we will be like the Israelites He complained about. They were steadfast with religious observances but their hearts were far from Him, hence they remained steeped in sin.
“11. What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.
12. When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts?
13. Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations- I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.
14. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them.
15. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
16. Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil,
17. learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
18. Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” – Isaiah 1:11-18 (ESV)
See also Amos 5:20-24, Jeremiah 6:20 and Micah 6:6-8. The bottomline is that any meaningful seeking of God must be heartfelt. It must come with total surrender and a determination to change for the better.Seeking God should be aimed at surrendering totally to and obeying Him always. Click To Tweet
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13
May God give us a true longing for Him and help us to surrender our lives fully to Him through our Saviour, Jesus. And having done so, may He help us to live out our faith daily in humble obedience to His word in Jesus’ name. Amen.
The scriptures used in this post are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible except where otherwise stated.
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