When I started reading and realized that the passage was about a story that I have heard countless times in my life, I immediately thought of the stereotypical manger scene. You have Mary and Joseph standing, Jesus in the manger, a few Shepard men off to one side and the three wise men on the other with their gifts in hand. You also can’t forget the star over the barn where everyone is gathered.
I challenged myself to read it again and to read it with fresh eyes, to look for things that are sometimes missed. Too often, we put certain stories into a box rather than asking God to reveal something new to us about Him. With all of that being said there were a few things that stood out to me.
The first thing that really stood out to me is the star that the wise men were following. It made me ask the question, “Was this star only visible to them?” In my mind it seems like if there was a really bright and obvious star it would have attracted others as well, not just the three. Verse 9 says, “…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.” This makes it sound like the star was moving. This implies that God wanted the wise men to see it but not others. Was it elusive? Was it a star at all? I find myself wrestling with questions in how all of this went down and what actually happened.
I was also impressed by how many times God came through revealing the perfect plan to different people involved. Three different times God seems to intervene, causing a course correction. The first time is in verse 12 when God warns the wise men in a dream to stay away from King Herod. The second is in verse 13, when the Angel of the Lord appears to Joseph warning him to flee Bethlehem to Egypt. Then it happens a third time in verses 19 and 20 when the Angel of the Lord instructs them to return to the land of Israel.
I find myself wishing God would guide and direct my steps in such a clear, obvious way that I couldn’t miss it, that it would be so obvious there would be no question. For me, I find that I can often convince or explain my way out of truly listening and following in those moments, those moments where the Holy Spirit is leading.
I believe with all of my heart that God still speaks and still leads, much like He did with Joseph and the wise men. I think that we can often convince ourselves that it is not God and that it is coincidence. My prayer is that I, as a follower of Jesus would be in tune with the voice of God, that I would hear it loud and clear and that I would follow boldly.