Archive for October, 2013

If you could choose to be lucky, talented, smart, or wise which one would you choose? There was a time when I would have probably chosen lucky or talented. I mean, if you happen to be lucky things just seem to work out for you and if you happen to be talented enough, some things tend to come easy. Since I’m not really either one of those I thought maybe I could study hard and become really smart. So I did, study hard I mean. I put a lot of effort into trying to learn how to read well, write well, and reason things out. I studied history, science, psychology, philosophy, and theology. I obtained a lot of knowledge but at the end of the day, what good is a head full of knowledge without knowing how to use it? That’s where wisdom comes in. Wisdom is knowing what to do with what you know. If I could choose to be any one of these things, I would choose to be wise.

ThreeWiseMenblueskyandstarsIn Matthew 2:1-12 we have the story of some wise men who came seeking the “King of the Jews”. These were men from afar who had obviously studied Old Testamment prophecy as well as many other things, who had seen a sign, and who had been led by God to find Jesus. These men were wise, they not only had knowledge, but had the sense to act on what they knew, and so they did. As a result they came face to face with God’s Son and when they did, they worshipped Him.

That’s a great story but unfortunately that’s not all of it. You see, there are two other kinds of people mentioned in the same passage. I call them the wicked and the complacent. The first is represented by a man named Herod who happened to be the ruler over the Jews under the authority of the Roman Empire. He was not a very nice person. History reveals that he had many people killed during his reign, including members of his own family. This man sought knowledge from the leading Old Testament scholars of his day concerning prophecies of God’s Messiah but for very different reasons than the wise men. Herod pretended to want to worship Him but really only wanted to destroy Him. Herod actively fought against what God was doing. He was certainly lucky, and maybe even a talented political leader, but he wasn’t very wise.

The third group, the complacent, are perhaps the saddest of all. This group is represented by the same Old Testament scholars that Herod consulted. These were the religious leaders of the day. These were the men who were the smartest when it came to the word of God, and yet they seemed to care very little about it. Oh, they were religious alright, but they were so religious that they completely missed what God was doing. They were happy, and complacent, with their own religion and knowledge. They were smart, but they weren’t very wise.

I saw a bumper sticker once that said “Wise men still seek Him”. Simple, but true. God has sent His Son into the world in order to save us, to actually seek us out. It would be foolish not to act on that knowledge.

wisdom-large-3Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. (Proverbs 4:5-8, ESV)

 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5, ESV)

One of the cool things about getting older (notice I said older) is that you’ve been around long enough to see some things come and go like hairstyles, fashion, TV shows, music, and technology. One of the things my older friends enjoy doing is playing a game I like to call Remember When?. That’s when we sit around and go, “Hey, remember when…?” It always brings a few laughs and sometimes some old pictures even get broken out. Then it’s not always funny anymore.

searchingAnyway, I was reminded of a song the othr day that I haven’t heard in years. It’s a song called Sweet Dreams by a band called The Eurythmics. Remember them? It’s kind of a catchy tune but I have to confess that the lyrics never made much sense to me. There is one line that stands out though and it was this line that came to mind. It goes like this “I’ve traveled the world and the seven seas, and everybody’s looking for something.” I do believe that the writer stumbled on to something there. Everybody is looking for something. People are looking for things like happiness, love, peace, and satisfaction. I think that everything we do is ultimately a result of longing for these things in our lives. We get married, have kids, go to school, pursue a career, buy things, get involved in activities, clubs, church… you name it, all to hopefully find these things. Unfortunately none of these things ever do bring us the ultimate satisfaction that we’re looking for. Oh these things can bring us happiness and love and peace, at least in a sense and for a while, but none of them, by themselves, ultimately fulfill  us. That’s because we were made for something more.

In Matthew 1:1-17 we run across one of those “begat” passages that are boring to read and frankly don’t seem to offer much in the way of answers, at least at first glance. However, as is often the case when it comes to God’s word, there is more than meets the eye. What I see in tis passage is the answer to what everybody is ultimately looking for. That answer is not found in a thing but in a person. Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior.

imagesIn these opening verses we read about the ancestry and geneology of Jesus, which is broken down into three segments of Jewish history. What Matthew is trying to show is that the promised Savior that God’s people have long been waiting for and looking for has arrived. Jesus is the one that we were all made for and it’s in Him that we will find our ultimate fulfillment. It’s in Him that we find true happiness, love, and peace. When we find our fulfillment in Him, then we can find it in those other things like marriage, family, and careers. Knowing Jesus is the key.

Do you know Him or are you spinning your wheels looking everywhere else and still coming up empty? If you find that you’re still looking for something then I encourage you to read through at least one of the first four books of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and meet the One you are looking for.