“I see Him, but not now;
I behold Him, but not near;
A Star shall come out of Jacob;
A Scepter shall rise out of Israel…” Numbers 24:17
What makes one wise? According to Wikipedia (my new best friend), wisdom is the application of knowledge gained. And today, rather than being filled with wisdom, it’s folly that saturates my soul. Or, staying true to my inner perfectionist, I shall be overly-critical and say what I’m really thinking. I am foolish. An utter fool. Simply, in my travels to a spiritual Bethlehem, I fail to act on that which God reveals to me. Namely, leaving perfectionism behind. Like a dog with a bone, I hold to that which consumes me. And rather than me gnawing on it, it gnaws at me. When there’s something I want to do, perfectly, it absolutely consumes every bit of my brain… leaving little room for anything else.
Two weeks ago I set my course for the Star of Jacob, and I knew exactly where I was headed. My writing of December 6 reminds me of my singular focus, “… as God’s word guides my way, the goal becomes clear in my sight… Jesus.” Yes, eyes straight ahead and He was my focus. He was the goal. But alas, I am a perfectionist to the core and ambitious to boot. And so, I set a second goal. You know, nudging the bar a tad higher. I thought what a great idea to blog this entire journey. However, one step led to another, and before I knew it the bar was so high I could barely see it. For I fully expected to reach Jesus, find a Christmas heart along the way, and write the complete Christmas story throughout my pilgrimage. And when I say write about Christmas, I mean all of it (to include creation, promises made to Abraham, the exodus of Israel, the Law, sin and Christ’s death and resurrection.) Oh, I was sure I could easily accomplish this grand feat. But you know what… today, I realize I can’t. I just can’t. For in truth, I am not perfect. And it took me nearly all of yesterday to figure that out.
But today is a new day. And through the story of the wise men, my hope is renewed. For their Christmas journey surely lasted more days than my fourteen. And eventually, the Magi did reach their destination.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. Matthew 2:1-2
The Magi, which means “wise men,” were likely astrologers who studied the signs of the times and stars. And I can only imagine the depths of knowledge that each one housed, stored up through a lifetime of observation. And because they were always watching and waiting, the Magi noticed when something extraordinary occurred. For there appeared to them a star, a new star, that outshone all the others. And leaving everything behind, they set their course by a bright light in the sky. These men knew the meaning of the star, and so, they acted wisely in venturing out. And their pilgrimage took them towards Jerusalem as they sought the King of the Jews. Upon arrival in the bustling city, King Herod gave them audience, which was the custom of the day. But their goal had not been attained, as this was not the true King they sought. And so, they kept searching…
When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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, frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2:10-11
Oh, there are several reasons these men were wise. But today, like a star, one outshines the others. For what is wisdom but the application of knowledge gained. And these men had knowledge, an entire storehouse of knowledge. But more importantly, they applied what they knew to their lives. For with the appearance of a star, the Magi became singular in focus. For the star indicated the birth of a King. And so, laying all else aside, they set their course for Him. And they didn’t stop until they reached their goal.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
There were three wise men (so says tradition). And they set their course by a star. We don’t know for certain how long their journey lasted. Some suggest six days beyond birth, while others say the Christ child was nearing two years old by the time they came to Him. But in truth, it really doesn’t matter how long it took them. What really matters is… they made it.
And there’s one un-wise woman. She set her course by the Star of Jacob. Oh, she may veer off course every now and then, which delays her journey. But that doesn’t really matter. What really matters is, His star still outshines the others. And His light still guides her.
And so… as God’s word guides my way, the goal again becomes clear in my sight… Jesus.