"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." - Matthew 2:1-6
It’s not easy to hear you’ve been replaced. Just ask Herod. The king of the Jews was in turmoil after hearing the King of the Jews was born.
Herod wasn’t prepared for the Messiah’s arrival. His crown started to feel temporary. His throne must have felt less stable.
But Herod is not the only one who’s dealt with uncertainty. I’ve known it too.
My issue may not be the threat of replacement. But any upheaval to life as I know it, can become an existence I hoped to avoid. On those days, I could use a star to guide me to a stable situation.
But Herod didn’t follow a star. He followed his fear instead, because life can be unpredictable.
Well, sort of.
Through the Scriptures, God reveals His principles and promises. Christ fulfilled over 300 biblical prophecies about His life, death and resurrection, including Micah 5:2:
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.”
Eventually, Herod’s walk with fear and doubt took him to a dark place. He sent his henchmen to kill all the infant boys in the region. By then, being replaced was unbearable to him and being redeemed was missed by him. But God protected the Christ child and Herod’s plan failed. (See Matthew 2:16-21)
Fear and doubt form a slippery slope when we’re dealing with the uncontrollable. But I like the way truth grips me. It gripped the wise men too.
The Bethlehem sky was drenched in darkness. Yet, it featured the brightest star. Where it led they followed until they reached the stable where Christ was born.
By then, the wise men believed.
While Herod threw fits of rage, seeking to hold onto life as he knew it, the wise men bowed before the manger, seeking to worship the newborn King.
These different responses to the same event encourage me because…
When a situation starts to look dark, I can still follow the Star.
You can too.
The star still shines in the darkest of nights. It still guides willing souls because Jesus is the Bright and Morning Star. (see Revelation 22:16) He welcomes the fragile, the fearful and our questions.
He came just for you and for me.
The wise men traveled a great distance to see the baby Jesus. How far are we willing to trust the resurrected Christ?
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” – Matthew 2:2
Here’s a prayer to worship Him too, if you long for a stable situation.
Dear God, I choose to worship You. Whatever issues exist from what I hoped to avoid, I bring them to You now. Forgive me where I’ve failed. Guide me through dark places. Strengthen me where I’m weak. Heal me where I’m broken and may You receive all the glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
All Scriptural references are from the New Living Translation (NLT).