Few New Testament figures are shrouded in as much mystery as the Magi. They have been called kings, wise men and astrologers. They come, vaguely, from “the East” and they bring expensive and unusual gifts, strange gifts for a young family. Traditionally, we think there were three men, because of the three gifts, but their exact number is unknown. After this brief encounter, they do not appear again in the Bible.
But, from the account in Matthew 2, we understand that they were men of authority and prestige. Traveling from the non-Jewish world, they represent the nations, and in so doing, they are a narrative picture of the words of warning from Psalm 2:10-11:
“Therefore, you kings, be wise;
Be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear
And celebrate his rule with trembling.”
The Magi understood: this King Jesus is sovereign over all, and submission to His authority is the wisest way to rule. But what about the rest of us non-rulers? What are we to take from this? Perhaps we need to zoom out to look at both Psalm 1 and 2, which are a perfectly balanced prologue to the entire book of Psalms. Psalm 2 ends with “blessed are all,” but Psalm 1 begins with “blessed is the one.” Psalm 2 is addressed to the nations and asks: Will you let God rule? Psalm 1 is addressed to us as individuals, and asks: Will you let God teach you? Taken together, the conclusion of both psalms is that by placing ourselves individually under God’s rule, we are best equipped to participate in His plan for blessing the nations. And the by-product is that we ourselves enjoy a blessed life, too.
As we stand on the edge of a brand-new year, we can only wonder what it will hold, personally, or for our nation. But, God Himself is unchanging, and His word is sure. He can be counted on to teach us, and to guide our steps according to His plan (Psalm 2:12).
For Family Discussion: Who is in charge of all the leaders, over all the world? How can we pray for them?
For Personal Reflection: How might God call you to participate in His mission in the coming year?
by Laure Herlinger