“And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Looking and listening. The wise man searched for a star that rose and would guide them to our King. This light would be the light that would guide their lives and ours for the rest of our lives. As I reflect on Chapter two of Matthew, I found a timely quote. It said, “Those who live at the greatest distance from the means of grace often use the most diligence to find it, and learn to know Christ and his salvation.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary) I think this can also be true as the wise man and we search for his light. This light in the form of a star can be thought of as the same light we should look for each day as we search for Jesus. John 8:12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Joseph was told by the Lord in a dream to believe in his marriage to Mary. He believed. He was asked to have faith in a decision to move his family to Egypt. He moved. The Lord tells Joseph how to keep his family safe. He listened.
In this new year I pray to help us to be more like Joseph and less like “me” when asked to do something. Where we listen for the Lord and not just what we want to hear. Where we make our decisions to go or stay when the Lord tells us to and not just when it feels right to us. Often, we make decisions based only on our accord and not what the Lord may be asking you to do. (I’ve been here often..) I realize we may not get an angel telling us what to do, but it may be someone else. It may be a timely verse read, a friend from small group, a stranger you share your faith with. It’s all part of God’s plan. Hebrews 13:2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.
My prayer for 2017 is that I listen closer to God. I pray you do too. May he open doors, may he close them, sometimes we will be told to move, sometimes told to stay. Either way we listen. Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
In addition, Joseph followed through. I can be a good listener at times, I’ve also been told that I have “selective hearing” just like our children. At either listening level, what do we do next. (This is my self confession, submission part, I ask you help me with. Pray to follow through with God’s plans.) Do we follow through for our Lord or do I stay because it feels more comfortable, less scary, more worldly, or just less conflict. Unfortunately for me it’s the latter.
Lord help us to listen. To make decisions based on what you want and not what we want. Help us to trust in your word and believe in the plan you have for us even if it seems uncertain, scary, bigger or smaller than we ever imagined. That even when it seems like King Herod is out get us, you provide the people and protection we need to keep us safe. Not because of decisions we made. But because we listened, followed through, and had faith in you. Amen
And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Matthew 2:11