Today we are praying for the country of Jordan. Please help us lift up this nation to the Lord today. You can follow the two links below to learn more about the nation and its unreached people groups. You can watch the video below to help guide you in your prayers. If you want to pray for more nations in North Africa and the Middle East you can click HERE and explore the different nations and peoples that makes up the region.
Please take time to meditate on the devotion for today as well.
Please pray for the nation of Jordan by joining in prayer with the video below.
Watch the above video and pray for the requests listed at the end.
Today's Devotional Thought
This week, we are going to step aside from our study of 1 John to remember the account of the birth of Jesus Christ. One portion of that Christmas story is found in Matthew 2:1-12. Let us look at it together.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”
Who are these Magi? We have heard them described as 3 kings of Orient, wise men, and magi. Who were they? While there is some mystery surrounding these individuals, it is most likely that they were a group of wise men who specialized in astronomy, astrology, and natural science. They were most likely from Persia, which is, modern day Iran. At some point, they discovered and observed a new star shining. This new star could have been a comet or meteor or a supernatural temporary star. Whatever it was, it caused them to seek an answer for the phenomena.
It was determined by these magi that this star appeared in order to announce the coming of the King of Israel. How would they have come to this conclusion? We know that Baalam prophesied this phenomenon in Numbers 24:17 which reads, “A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel.” But, how would these Persians have heard this prophecy so far from Jacob…or Israel? There were two well known Jews, among many others, who spent several hundred years in Persia: Daniel and Esther. It is possible that this prophecy was claimed and hoped in while the Jews were in captivity in Babylon, and later Persia. Maybe this prophecy had been heard, read, and studied by the magi. Whatever the case, when they discovered who the star was for, they went to worship him: or literally, to pay him homage and respect. We read on in Matthew 2…
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 6‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH;
FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’”
Think about how amazing God’s Word is. The prophecy that likely led them this far was Baalam’s prophecy in Numbers 24, which was given some 1400 years earlier. That prophecy was probably left in Persia roughly 400 years earlier. Now, they find this prophecy prophesied by Micah in Micah 5:2 some 700 years earlier. Isn’t God’s Word amazing? God is speaking one message, whether it is 1400 years old, 400 years old, or 700 years old. God’s Word is all one unified message that leads men to the Messiah. Reading on in Matthew 2…
7 Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” 9 After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him.
Please recognize that this “child” was not the baby Jesus. He was the child Jesus. He was in a house, not a manger. So, though the wise men look cool in nativity sets at the manger kneeling down with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they were not there. They did not make it to the manger in Bethlehem with the shepherds. They came later. It is likely that Jesus was around 2 years old at this time. This would be supported by the fact that in Matthew 2:16, Herod had all the male children 2 years old and younger killed in an effort to murder the King of the Jews. We read, “Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.”
As we continue reading in chapter 2 of Matthew, after the magi fall to the ground to pay homage to Jesus, we find that they “Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.” Notice that they brought Him 3 types of gifts…not 3 gifts. These gifts tell us much about this young, unrecognized king.
1. Read through the text again. What do you learn from this text about God the Father and God the Son? What do you learn about yourself? How should You respond?
2. Meditate on the text again and answer the following honestly. In response to what I am learning from this text, I will ________________________.
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