Summary: Three things the wise men believed helped them be open to God’s guidance. Those three things are still important to us today in our desire to be guided by God.
Steps to Receiving God’s Guidance
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for speaking to us once again this year through the birth stories of Jesus. You encourage and inspire us through the experiences of Mary and Joseph. You stir our hearts once again. Now as we think about the wise men and their openness to your guidance, help us to see how their story applies to our lives. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Our God is a God who wants to guide people in life. In the Bible we read the stories of many people who received messages from God to guide them. Sometimes God’s messages came through an angel. An angel came to Mary, the mother of Jesus, and gave her the surprise message of her life.
An angel also came to Joseph, the man to whom Mary was engaged. The angel came in a dream and told Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary to be his wife.
Thirdly, an angel came to the shepherds that first Christmas and told them the good news that Christ had been born. In all these instances, God sent messages to people through angels to guide them in life.
The wise men in the Christmas story, however, had a different experience. No angel appeared to them to guide them to Christ. Instead, a star appeared in the east, signifying to them that something very important was happening.
God still sends messages to people. God sends those messages through the Words of the Bible. Sometimes we read God’s messages ourselves in the Bible, or in a Bible study group. Sometimes we receive God’s messages to us through a pastor, or a Christian friend, or a song with God’s messages.
I want to be guided by God. I’ve talked with many of you, and you have said the same thing in one way or another. You want to be guided by God. We human beings, gifted as we are by God, still need direction from God for life.
As we look at the story of the wise men this morning, we find that they believed three things that helped them be open to God’s guidance. They took a number of steps to be open to God’s guidance. This morning we will look at the three things that helped them be open to God’s guidance. Those three things are still are important to us today in our desire to be guided by God.
First of all, the wise men were open to God getting their attention. In chapter 2:2 we learn that they had seen an unusual star in the east. They could have ignored it, but they paid attention to the star. God put the star in the sky, far beyond their touch, but not beyond what their eyes could see.
The wise men, who were Gentiles, probably had been influenced by the presence of a large Jewish community who believed that God wanted to be their guide. The Jews remembered their history about how God had guided their ancestors within a cloud that moved by day. At night God had shown His presence in a pillar of fire. The wise men saw the star in the east and left their studies of the star to find the new king of the Jews.
They were open to God getting their attention.
How about us? Are we open to God getting our attention? And when God does, how do we respond? Do we ignore God? Or do we give God our undivided attention?
God sees the bigger picture for our lives. Who better is there to give us advice, direction, and leadership? God wants to catch our attention so that He can guide us. This may happen as we read the Bible. Sometimes a particular Christian speaker will be the person through whom God catches our attention. A song, an experience, a prayer, may be God’s way of reminding us that He wants to guide us.
About three or so years ago, I was going through a very hard time. I had been operated on for skin cancer on my nose that year. My husband’s, mother had become very ill. We were moving from the large home we no longer needed with our children gone. God caught my attention with a butterfly one day. The butterfly kept flying close to me. It was beautiful, playful, and reminded me of the new life we have in Christ. I smiled, and my spirits were lifted.
Then as we were moving, the butterfly reappeared at our new location a number of days. It was the same color, the same size as the butterfly that I had seen back at our old home and location. How could that be? I knew it was not coincidence. My loving God had planned it that way to catch my attention and to reassure me in that hard time of life of His presence.