Season of Hope Part 1 – Not all who wander are lost!

JRR Tolkien quote, The fellowship of the rings

The story of the wisemen

Tradition tells us there were three wise men from the east but that is not true. We don’t know how many wise men there were, could have been two, could have been 50 but regardless they followed a star…let’s revisit their story…it is only 13 verses from Matthew 2: 1-12

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,

are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,

for a ruler will come from you

who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

9 After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

12 When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

What do we know about these travelers?

Christian tradition calls them, Kings, wise men, Magi

They came from the east – most likely, Iran, Iraq, and or Media (Kurds)

They brought gifts of great value

Tradition states  they traveled for up to two years – they entered a house and later Herod had all of the male children two and under murdered

Lessons from the Magi

  1. God’s leading may take time

Proverbs 3:5,6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.

We need to always remember we are on a journey. Our walk with the Lord is many stops along the way that are places of growth

Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego started their journey by choosing simply to trust the Lord at his word….Daniel and his friends were intelligent, handsome, well taught, of the linage of David….so like the Magi they used their skills but also their convictions to begin their journey

Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.”

Daniel simply trusted God who has kept them in the palm of his hands their whole life because they were obedient to Him.   This proved to be the beginning of a long journey of obedience in the face of more and more difficult times

Don’t know how to start on your journey to fulfilling God’s promises and plan for your life, see where you need to choose to start being obedient to Him and start there…the wise men did and so did Daniel

  • We have to choose to go after it regardless of the circumstances

John 16:13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.

The Magi had about a 1000 mile journey ahead of them. They had to have enough funds, food, and protection to get them to the end of their journey and had to count the cost. They understood what the world was like. They had to understand the ways of the world and choose to depend upon supernatural guidance (the star) to get them there.

Circumstances can be difficult, full of trouble, seemingly impossible. They can be something we have never done before, even go against our grain and seem like it is against something God would want (Esther, me and the bar, Joseph) if we are on a journey with the Lord we need to keep our hearts right and learn to listen to Him and the circumstances won’t matter

God’s Spirit of truth will always guide us into his perfect will. We do not have to wander aimlessly or even if we blow it there is a way back. His truth will guide us. Jonah learned that lesson

Jonah story

Jonah 2:1, 2; 3:1,2

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish. 2 He said,

“I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble,

and he answered me.

I called to you from the land of the dead,

and LORD, you heard me! 

Then the LORD spoke to Jonah a second time: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”

Look at your circumstances…what is stopping you from following the Lord. Surrender to the Holy Spirit and he will lead you as to where you should go, always

  • Not everywhere we go is to be a blessing for us, sometimes the Lord leads us into situations to challenge others

Psalm 37:23,24

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. 24 Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.

When the Magi arrived in Jerusalem, at the palace, it seemed to be the appropriate place to go. They were there for a purpose for a challenge but it wasn’t where God was going to have them end up. They did what they needed to do and moved on. Some stages on our journey are to try to touch the lives of others to give them hope but if they will not receive it, it is not our call. 

Jesus did this so many times, in Samaria he came for just a bit with the women at the well, they did receive it and he moved on but in Luke 9 Jesus passes through another Samaritan village and they don’t receive him but he still sowed seed

  • If we are faithful, we will win the prize

Psalm 16:11 

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

The magi listened to the Lord through the leading priest and teachers as to where the King was….notice they did not get hung up on the rejection from Herod but their focus was always the prize, seeing the King

We must be faithful in our journey keeping our eyes always on Jesus. The writer of Hebrews said this, he had just given us a list of the hall of the faithful with all of their ups and downs and we know their stories well but he didn’t want us to get hung up on only being as faithful and powerful as they were but knowing our prize is much greater he writes this in Hebrews 12:2

“looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

You have heard me say we end up where we set our eyes (driving example) when our eyes are set on Jesus as the Magi’s were we will end up at the prize and for us. It means that everything he has planned for us, all the reasons he gave us the gifts we know about and the ones we will develop are because we have been faithful to keep our eyes on the prize and then we win the prize.

  • Each leg of our journey teaches us to hear Him more clearly

Isaiah 58:11 The LORD will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones; You shall be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

This is how we know we have been following the Lord’s guidance as we continue on every day in our journey with the Lord he shows us how he will provide. 

The Gospel’s tell us Jesus had his needs met by wealthy women who gave, Elijah had ravens bringing him meat, then a widow supplied of her last meal. Paul would make tents or the church would supply but all along the way God also provided friends, those who would stand with them and for them and gave the wisdom and insight needed they never had lack to fulfill God’s purposes.

God’s guidance is not so mysterious it is a matter of

  1. Staying in the word and prayer and that is where God will show you His and “the” way
  2. As you now know the Lord’s heart don’t allow the road bumps in life (circumstances) stop you. If you blow it repent and get right back to trusting the Lord
  3. Know why you are where you are, are you there to stay and be a blessing or are you in this person’s life, in this job, to simply sow seed
  4. Keep your eyes on Jesus, stay humble pliable, flexible and don’t give up so easily remain faithful to Him, His call, and where you have been planted
  5. Know that every decision you make that causes faith to grow in greater strength to change the world more easily next time and causes you to more easily understand his will for your life

You can stop wandering in a lost mode any time you want. God’s desire is for you to know and fulfill his will. It is what He created you for, designed you for and will bring you the greatest joy of life