9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Matt 2:9-12 (NIV)

How miraculously and graciously the hand of God directed these Magi – in Shekinah like glory – through the reappearance of the star which they had previously seen and followed in the east – leading them directly to the Christ Child. How joyful they were in God’s leading – the signs of God’s favor and presence cannot help but fill us with great joy and peace. I am reminded of God’s Word to Joshua (as well as to all who love Him):

9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Josh 1:9 (NIV)

“Success waits upon cheerfulness. The man who toils rejoicing in his God has success guaranteed.” Charles Spurgeon

We should be glad for everything and everyone that points us to Christ – directing us to things above rather than earthly things. Paul tells us our minds and hearts should be focused upward:

1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Col 3:1-2 (NIV)

There is also continual joy in God’s presence. I am reminded of King David’s words in Psalm 16:

11 You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalms 16:11 (NIV)

God enabled these wise men to do that which they themselves were are unable to do by their own abilities and devices. No compass or GPS would have led them there – even King Herod was befuddled over the whereabouts of the King of the Jews. As we follow after the Master, God directs, enables and equips us through His power just as He did these Magi albeit extraordinary helps are not to be expected when ordinary means are available. I am reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians:

13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Phil 4:13 (NIV)

“We cannot expect too little from man, nor too much from God.” Matthew Henry

What in the world could have been the reaction of the Magi to the humble abode in which the star led them to discover the King of Kings? Surely they had to have been at the very least a little taken aback when they see a cottage in lieu of a castle. Yet we discover in our verses quite the opposite. Undeterred, they humbly present themselves in worship first then their gifts second. Interestingly, they bow down in worship to the Lord Jesus even though they had not given such honor to Herod though he was in the height of grandeur. Neither a castle nor a crown make a man a king - only perhaps externally. We can take a pig and put a royal robe on him and set him on a throne but he is still a pig.

These Magi present their gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh to young Jesus. What on earth could Mary have been thinking while all this was taking place? Surely it was another thing she would “treasure up and ponder in her heart” (Luke 2:19). In the eastern nations when one did homage to their kings they brought gifts from their own country. The Proverb rings true:

16 A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great. Prov 18:16 (NIV)

The gifts presented to Jesus had symbolic value as well. Gold was offered because Jesus was/is King; incense was offered because Jesus was/is God - for they honored God with the smoke of incense; and lastly myrrh was offered Jesus as a Man who would die - as myrrh was used in embalming dead bodies. Interestingly as well, these gifts were a timely relief sent by Providence to Joseph and Mary in their present poor condition. This would have helped them when they headed towards Egypt. God also protects these Magi warning them in a dream not to go back to King Herod preventing the harm Herod had planned for the King of the Jews.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Prov 3:5-6 (NIV)

What I Glean

  • God led the wise men in Shekinah like glory to the Christ child.
  • God will be with me wherever I go.
  • There is joy in God’s presence.