It was dark. Nothing along the road looked familiar. No road signs. No recognizable landmarks. No cars, even. Marshy, coastal roads are quite desolate at night―even a little spooky. Certainly not a place in which I wanted to be lost.
How long had it been since I turned, anyway? Surely I hadn’t made a wrong turn―had I? I should be there by now―shouldn’t I? Ah, finally! A road sign ahead. But my sense of relief was quickly met with dismay. I had indeed made a wrong turn. And I had added twenty miles to my already exhausting road trip. With no GPS, I certainly could have used a guiding star that night.
The uncertainty of being lost on the highway is not foreign to any of us. However, the apprehension we experience on one of today’s usually well-marked multilane highways would pale in comparison to the Magis’ sense of remote isolation in the vast, rugged hill country of Judea over two thousand years ago. Our immense relief on seeing a familiar landmark or road sign would fall far short of the “exceeding great joy” that washed over the Magi as they saw the star mysteriously reappear overhead.
Magi living in the East marveled at the initial appearance of an unexplainable star which prompted their search for the prophesied newborn king of the Jews. Departing from Persia, they began their five-to-six-hundred-mile trek westward toward Jerusalem. Matthew’s gospel account of the Magi stopping in Jerusalem to ask King Herod for directions suggests that the star they saw “when it rose,” disappeared and was not visible for the greater part of their journey. King
Herod, noticeably disturbed by their questions, personally did not see the star. However, after consulting with the chief priests and scribes and hearing the prophecy, he sent the Magi on their way toward Bethlehem. Soon, the star reappeared and they rejoiced as it went ahead of them.The reappearance of the star reveals that for much of their journey, they weren’t guided by what they saw, but by what they believed in their hearts to be true. Consequently, they journeyed to Bethlehem by faith, continuing through uncertainty, until they found the king they were seeking.
When was the last time you journeyed an unknown path by faith? Perhaps your terrain is uncertain now. Follow what God has placed in your heart and believe it to be true. His light still shines, and wise men who seek Him still find him.
(Photo courtesy of morguefile and greyerbaby.)
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