Tuesday, April 14

Worship and obey

Scripture: 1 Samuel 17, Psalm 9, Matthew 2


Two things today from the Christmas story in Matthew 2.  

First, notice the different responses to the news of Jesus’ birth.

The magi worshipped Him.  What a shock this must have been.  These were Gentiles, not Jews; they worshipped other gods.  They practiced astrology and other arts forbidden in the Jewish Scriptures.  The Jews would have considered them lost pagans at best, and despised enemies at worst.  Yet, here they are to worship Jesus.  Not who you would expect to show up at Jesus’ birth, let alone to worship Him! 

Herod tried to kill Him.  King Herod was famous for his murderous paranoia (he had his own wife and sons murdered because he thought they might be plotting against him).  He carefully quizzed the magi, and then the religious leaders to determine where and when the new king would be born.  But he didn’t want to worship the new king; he wanted to kill him.  And when Herod realized he’d been outwitted by the Magi, he sent soldiers to Bethlehem to kill every baby boy under 2.  

The Jewish leaders ignored Him.  They knew the prophecies about the Messiah; they knew where He would be born.  They were supposedly looking for His arrival.  These are the people you would expect to be excited about the birth of the Messiah.  And yet, when He arrived, they couldn’t be bothered to walk 5 miles to check it out.  The magi have traveled hundreds of miles; they didn’t bother going 5!  They were completely indifferent.  They didn’t care.

So here’s the first point of application and prayer.  What is your response to Jesus today?  Our responses can change from day to day.  What about today?

Are you hostile toward Him?  Angry with Him about what’s going on?  About your health?  Your job?  Your finances?  

Are you indifferent toward Him?  Just ignoring Him most of the time?  Can’t be bothered?

Or are you worshipping Him?  Loving Him and giving Him your very best?  

What is your response to Jesus today?  I’m going to give you 3 minutes to  pray about that.

Prayer: Lord, I want to be a worshipper like the Magi—willing to pay any price to get close to You.

Here’s the second thing.

Joseph doesn’t show up much in the gospel story except for the birth narrative—he disappears after that.  But what an important role he plays here! Like his Old Testament namesake, Joseph had dreams.  Three times God spoke to Joseph in his dreams.  

The first time God warned Joseph to flee Bethlehem and go to Egypt, because Herod was going to try to kill Jesus.  That night, Joseph obeyed—and not a moment too soon.  God spoke, Joseph obeyed—and saved the Savior!

The second time God told Joseph to go back to Israel because Herod was dead.  Once again, Joseph obeyed.  God spoke, Joseph obeyed.  

The third time God told Joseph to leave Judea and go to Galilee because Herod’s son was ruling in Judea.  And once again, Joseph obeyed.  God spoke, Joseph obeyed—and Jesus was raised in Galilee, as the prophets had said.  Joseph wasn’t trying to fulfill prophecy—he was just trying to obey.  

Joseph is kind of a bit player in the Big Story.  Not a big role.  But he made a big difference for one reason.  When God spoke, he obeyed.

So here’s the second point of application and prayer.  What is God speaking to you today—and will you obey?  I’m going to give you 3 minutes to  pray about that; to listen, and then…let’s do what He says.

Prayer: Lord, help me to listen and hear what You say—and then help me to do it.  Help me to be like Joseph—when You speak, I’ll obey.