Matthew 2:11-12 – On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (NIV)
The temperature is thirty-three degrees Celsius and there is ninety percent humidity in our city today. Yet the scripture passage that popped up for our bedtime devotional with our boys is one that people from the northern climes associate with wintry Christmas: the story of the Magi. Perhaps to show us that there are no coincidences in the way He speaks to us, the same story showed up today at our neighbourhood prayer group! The one thing that, today, has shone through the account of the Magi is worship: "they bowed down and worshipped Him." Worshipping Jesus was the primary, undiluted goal of the wise men. They reinforce a few fundamental principles of this aspect of our relationship with God.
To worship, we must recognize our lost condition and agree to be led by Him to Himself. The Magi were no doubt first-class citizens in their land, as well as men of learning, yet they recognized that they were nothing without God, and they followed the star to the place where Jesus lay. We have our stars too, which we ought to be diligent to follow, for example, the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit and the fellowship of believers.
We also need to enter into His presence; we cannot worship God from afar. Our whole being must come into His presence; we must see and know Him, albeit, for now, with our spiritual eyes. But what a privilege history bestowed on the Magi: they also saw Him with their physical eyes.
Worship involves sacrifice. We must part with and hand over to Him our most treasured items as we worship Him. If I had gold and incense and myrrh, I would gladly hand them over to God, but to the One who has taught us that He has "the words of eternal life," I must hand over my life.
Worshipping God must lead to changed lives. The Magi, after worshipping Jesus, returned to their country by a different route. They did not go back over the old, thorny and winding path, and certainly not back to evil Herod for a pat on the back. They took a different route! Does worship lead to the same response in our lives?
Prayer: Lord, teach us to worship You. Continuously grant us the humility to see our unworthiness, to see and follow the Way that You have built for us to get to You, and to turn away from our evil ways. Give us the strength and privilege of sweet surrender to Your name. Give us the privilege to share with others some tokens of Your goodness. Amen.