Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:1-23
Have you ever set out to do something, but lost track of what you were doing or became distracted by something else before you could accomplish your task? Have you ever made a trip to the grocery store to buy something and came back with ten other items, forgetting the item you set out to purchase? Have you ever walked across your house and then became so entranced in a different thought that you cannot remember what you came into the room to do or to get? Do you ever feel like Kevin the dog in the movie Up – “Squirrel!”
We live such busy lives that it is incredibly easy to become distracted or to lose course. Life becomes routine and we start going through the motions, forgetting what life is really about or what is most important. In fact, Sunday mornings can become so routine that even church becomes about something besides worshipping God.
God wants us to purposefully focus on Him every day, to live our lives with our eyes fixed on Him. Every day of our lives can become about how we worshipped our King, how we spent time seeking Him and entering into His presence to give Him praise.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”– Matthew 2:1-2
We have come to worship him. What a great reminder for me this morning to check my intent when I enter into my quiet time or go to a service at Church. I think there are a lot of times when I am going through the motions instead of sincerely entering into His presence to worship Him. When I wake up, grab a cup of coffee and open my Bible, it would be helpful to pause and consider that this time is not about me but about Him. When I walk into the Church, it is not about the people I get to see, or whether or not I am going to like the song selection. I am there to worship God.
The wisemen could have easily been distracted on their journey. The wisemen came to Jerusalem intently looking for the King of the Jews. This was not something they were doing halfheartedly. They had spent years studying for this journey and their hearts were committed to this search. But there was one who tried hard to distract them – to make this search about him instead of about the newborn King.
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I may go and worship him.” – Matthew 2:3-8
This was the moment when the purpose for their search could have changed. This is the person who could have distracted the wisemen from their calling. This is the time in which their quest could have become about earthly success or acclaim, but the wisemen stayed focused on their original purpose – to find and worship the King of all Kings.
After they heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. – Matthew 2:9-11a
The Message describes their reaction as “They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him.” The NLT says they were “filled with joy.”
When we enter into God’s house or enter into His presence during our daily quiet time, if we have truly come to worship Him and if we block out distractions and focus on Him, we can be overcome with joy. We can bow before Jesus, open up our hearts to Him, and sincerely worship Him. Then we can empty ourselves and offer Him everything we have to give.
Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. – Matthew 2:11b
What gift can you offer to Jesus today? I can tell you what He wants from you. He wants YOU – all of you, focused on Him and entering into His presence sincerely intent on worshiping Him. Let’s soak in Jesus’ presence today and allow God to make today exactly what He wants it to be.