A Lesson in Worship from the Wisemen

12 Dec

Each December as I return to the books of Matthew and Luke for my annual study of the events surrounding the birth of Christ, the same prayer is upon my heart,

 

 

Give me a fresh word from you, Lord. Open my eyes to a fresh Truth, a new lesson from this passage.

Since there  are only a handful of verses giving us the details of that Holy Night, it’s easy to simply read through it just as we have in years prior. We’re familiar with the stable, the shepherds, the star and the manger. We’ve heard about Mary and Joseph, their journey to Bethlehem, and the gifts the wisemen brought baby Jesus. If I’m not careful, I’ll read without allowing the Holy Spirit to teach me from this passage. It’s not simply history. There is much to learn from the events that unfolded that evening.

The other night, I was so blessed by a lesson in worship from the wisemen. Found in Matthew chapter two, we’re introduced to men who had journeyed far to see a baby spending His first night in a barn. (Though there’s debate over if their coming was indeed immediately after the birth or at a later time) 

With each verse that I read, I saw another characteristic that should be a part of our worship.

First, it was the rejoicing of these men at the sighting of the star which would lead them to the Christ Child.

” When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”

Matthew 2:10 

There is no doubt that they were weary from the journey yet at the sight of that twinkling star they were rejoicing. Just as we should be when we are blessed with the privilege of sitting under the preaching or teaching of God’s precious Word. His Word is our star, leading us to a place where we too can see Jesus. All too often rejoicing is absent.

Then it was the reaction of the wisemen to their first glimpse of the baby they had been searching for.

  “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him:”

Matthew 2:11

Did you notice what they did? Matthew tells us that they “fell down, and worshipped him.” It’s interesting to me that they didn’t take time to introduce themselves or make it a point to make their positions of prominence in their homeland known. Instead they realized how unworthy they were, how holy He was. They didn’t see a baby upon his mother’s lap, they saw their King.

When we see Jesus for who He really is, we too will worship. We will worship because it’s the only thing we can do. “No flesh should glory in His presence.” 1 Cor. 1:29 We’re suddenly keenly aware of the filthy rags we stand clothed in. We realize we have absolutely nothing to boast of. We see our King.

And finally, I was challenged by the response of these men to their infant Lord.

“…and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

Matthew 2:11

As the rose to their feet, in awe of little Jesus, we find them giving gifts unto Him. I read that ‘Oriental custom required that an inferior shall approach his superior with a gift.’ That means that these men saw themselves as inferior to a boy many years younger than themselves. And the gifts they brought were not just any gifts but gifts from “their treasures,” gifts of worth, of great price. They offered the Child their best. Gold, a precious metal, valued in every country around the world to this day, a gift commonly offered to kings. Frankincense, a costly fragrance drawn from trees found in India and Arabia. Myrrh, a precious ointment, commonly used to embalm a body after it’s passing. (I’m sure no one there that day knew how fitting such a gift was, no one was looking ahead to the day baby Jesus would be anointed and placed in a tomb thirty-three years later.) They offered willingly though it cost much.

We too will offer gifts to our Lord when we truly worship Him. We will realize how great a debt we owe and “open our treasures” before our King.We will offer our very best, our life, our heart, our efforts, talents, desires and dreams. We will realize that we are not our own. We will offer sacrifices “holy, acceptable, unto God.” (Romans 12:1-2)

We can learn much from the rejoicing, reaction and response of the wismen. We can learn a lesson in worship.

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