It’s easy to find talented people that end sadly. But even more, my own life shows me I can’t trust whatever talent. We have to look outside ourselves for something grounded.
It’s reaching out beyond that’s important for Christmas and especially for this year 2020. In Matthew 2, the Wise Men saw more, but King Herod could never get beyond his great talents.
While many saw the Christmas Star, the Wise Men searched out to find out what it meant. They had to travel hundreds of miles to find where the star led them. We also push out, and I’m thankful for those teachers like my LCHS shop teacher Mr. Eans that pushed me beyond my meager talents to make a nicer looking leather billfold. We open our hearts to the Scriptures to find hope and look beyond us to God.
However, King Herod was disturbed at the Wise Men’s news, the greatest news ever. King Herod proves that talent, skill, and riches aren’t enough. At that time, Rome ruled Israel. Herod’s father got on the good side of Julius Caesar as he came to power. From his dad, Herod learned how to make the right people happy. When he was in Jerusalem, he worshipped God. When he was in Rome, he worshipped the Roman gods. Whatever he needed to do for power, he did it, despite the fact Jesus says we can’t serve two masters.
Herod was made King and ruled skillfully. He built the Temple and fine buildings. He convinced Roman General Mark Antony to let him rule Israel instead of Cleopatra. But sadly, keeping power made Herod very paranoid. He did love one wife named Mariamne. But if Mark Antony had killed him, Herod decided that his wife would be killed with him. Naturally, his wife didn’t like that; so when she complained, Herod killed her anyway and later some of his sons. He was racked with pain near the end of his life; so that’s where we see him when Jesus is born.
Matthew’s Gospel confirms Herod and his people had knowledge of where Jesus was to be born, but knowledge didn’t lead to goodness or wisdom. We seek to experience the Lord, not just knowledge. Logan County and our nation need to experience God and not rely on past success. We pray to that end.
For wise men, when there was no way for human help, God sent a dream. This steered them away from Herod’s danger. God isn’t limited when we are. Jesus went to the Cross to break limits. We ask God for amazing things that only He can do.
Herod ended up killing the babies of Bethlehem when he didn’t get his way. The end of trusting the self is death. But Wise Men still seek Him. I reach the end of my intelligence many times and I have to come to the altar of praise and prayer at church. And God comes. But we must look out for hope.