Daily Devotion – January 3, 2018

Matthew 2:1-6

(expanded to include 2 previous verses for context)

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, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

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

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

‘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’.”


Devotion by Chris Shiver

The scripture above is from the New Living Translation, but other translations use the words “troubled” and “frightened” to describe the reactions of Herod and “everyone” in Jerusalem.  When we read the next dozen verses we come to understand that Herod’s reaction came from his dark heart & his desire to maintain power at any costs, and this may have applied to some of the other leaders as well.  But most of the Hebrew people had been taught to hope for the Messiah – so why would they react so negatively to what God had promised.  In these 1st two chapters of Matthew, it seems that the only people who reacted positively to this birth were persons who seem to have devoted their life to relationship with God (the wise men) & poor people such as Mary, Joseph & the shepherds.  It almost seems that anyone with anything to lose in terms of their prosperity on earth would rather cling to what they have, than receive the blessings that God had promised.  And this was at a time when the Hebrew people and Jerusalem were under the heel of a ruthless foreign oppressor.

For me the lesson is do I want to constantly be focused on maintaining the status and prosperity of myself, family & friends using my own limited power & schemes?  Or do I want rest on God’s promises by listening to God speak & then responding to God’s will, knowing that it may bring uncertain changes, and trusting that there will be unimaginable blessings?  If I look to my past I see that the result has always been more favorable for all concerned when I trusted in God.


My Prayer:

Jesus, I pray that each day before I make my own plans, that I will listen and follow what you have to say, and then trust you with the result.   Amen.

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