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Lesson # Matthew 2:7-12
Study Material - Matthew 2:7-12
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7 Then Herod secretly called the magi, and ascertained from them the time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, 'Go and make careful search for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, that I too may come and worship Him.' 9 And having heard the king, they went their way; and lo, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them, until it came and stood over where the Child was. 10 And when they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And they came into the house and saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell down and worshiped Him; and opening their treasures they presented to Him gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their own country by another way.
Herod inquired of the Magi as to when the star first appeared and asked them to go find the child. Better to have foreigners find the child than one of your own. All this impacts public opinion. If Herod had sent his own representatives or spies, then this would have raised the public eye, and given even more attention on the special child, and Herod did not want any public attention on this new 'king'. It would detract from his own rulership, and perhaps even cause rebellion against him in favor of the new child king.
So in deceit, Herod sent these foreigners to Bethlehem to do his dirty work. Bethlehem was but a short 6 or 7 miles south of Jerusalem. An easy ride for the king. He could have gone there in a day, found the child and done away with him. In a couple of years he will send his mercenaries to kill all of the male children under two years of age, and that will raise even more attention than now. But perhaps Herod did not think of it currently. Perhaps he did not think the child was such a threat, but more of an annoyance for the moment. Perhaps Herod thought that this was just another rumor of a 'king' born to Israel, so he did not pursue it aggressively. What ever the reason for his not acting when he knew the city and the time of the star, God protects His own. God protected the baby Jesus in the most vulnerable stage of his new life. As a child of a poor family and just hours away from the most ruthless enemy possible, king Herod. Yet Jesus was safe.
The Magi saw the star and followed it to the home of the child. He was no longer in the manger in a barn, but was now in a home. Why did not the Levitical priests see the star and follow it to the child? Why did nearly everyone miss this event in history? The spiritual lives of the general population was at an all time low, and had been for several centuries.
When a person is not interested in God, then any spiritual information that is placed right before them, right in front of their nose is not seen. Most people are not interested in God, except for the lip service they pay to the subject occasionally. And that is only to make some kind of public appearance in their attitude, to fool others. So fools fooling fools in the status quo in life in general. People do not think that Bible doctrine can do anything for them. They focus on their problems, or their own plans in their lives and take the attitude that if they can't hustle for what they want then they won't get anything. Others think that life stinks and they were just given a raw deal. So lets find someone to blame. God is convenient to blame, or family, or employers, or friends or neighbors, or some other culture. Anyone where one can vent their frustration and hate in simple expressions or even in violent acts. It's easier to blame someone else.
Herod was the silent and devious type. He used others to do his dirty work..
The Magi were thrilled, in contrast to Herod and those that followed Herod. They sought God, the Christ child because they had an intense interest and desire for learning anything that God had to teach. We live in a unique day ourselves. We have just passed through a millennium transition, perhaps very close to the end of our Church Age. They lived in a unique age when the Christ was born. That had to be an extremely exciting time for believers who were very positive toward Bible doctrine. Certainly the Bible tells us they were extremely excited at seeing the star and followed it.
Herod was so close to the location of Jesus, yet did not even try to go to see Him. He did not even go out to see the star that was pointing the way. Nor did he try to look for it. Negative people don't make an effort. They are lazy in their spiritual lives, and sometimes aggressive in their worldly lives. A misapplication of priorities unfortunately.
Herod used the excuse of wanting to go worship the child himself. Negative people use pious phrases, or comments to fool or make an impression on others. They seek to impress people, rather than God. But clearly Herod's actions did not match his words. He wasn't interested in religion or God or faith, otherwise he would not have even hesitated in going to Bethlehem immediately.
When they came to the house, they fell down in humble worship of not a baby, but God, the creator of the universe, the God Almighty, the Lord of Israel. One can only imagine the scene as they fell before Christ.
We will have our day soon. When the trumpet calls at out rapture, and we are all caught up in the clouds. Then every knee will bend, and every head will bow in worship of Christ.
The their treasures were presented to the Child and his family. Mary and Joseph were no longer poor, but wealthy beyond their dreams. Yet it did not go to their heads. No large estates purchased and teams of fine horses and furniture. They were comfortable. Their task was now to raise the child until his time came, which is still some 30 years away.
The Magi feared God more than they feared Herod. They did not return to the king, but went back home, but by another route, so they could not easily be tracked down by Herod.
Now we all have Christ as close as these Magi. We all have the star, in the written word, that we can follow and find God. Will we be like Herod and not take the time to open the Bible, or will we pursue with a vigor our desire for spiritual wisdom and its blessings??? Everyday we have this challenge. We can wallow in our self pity and blame others, or we can refocus our thoughts away from our problems, which by the way are not going to go away, and focus on God and His solution for our problems in this life.
The Magi traveled a long way, through rough territory in search of God. Herod didn't even travel a couple of hours south to Bethlehem, didn't even go out on the deck and look up at the stars to discover the Star of Christ. God leads the Magi and all believers every step of the way in their life. And helped them to return to their daily lives in safety. God is always watching over us day and night. As goes your attitude, so goes your life. As goes your decisions toward God so goes your destiny.
Now is the time to post a prayer.
End Of Lesson
Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.
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