January 02, 2023
It’s always the issue with every man and nation. Who is going to be king? Who is in control? Who leads? Who makes the decisions? The heartbeat of the devil is that he wants to be king. And the heartbeat of his temptation to us all is, "Don't let God rule you. Resist His authority over your life. He'll ruin your life, so keep resisting Him." This ancient spirit explains everything that is wrong with our world.
THE PREDICTABLE PATTERN
In Matthew 2 we see two stark contrasts regarding this foundational issue of control: Herod and the Wise Men.
Look what happens when we are in control:
1. Whenever anything threatens our control, we get troubled and anxious.
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Mt. 2:3)
Now, what could trouble Herod about the birth of a tiny, innocent child? The wise men were looking for this baby and said he was prophesied to be the King of the Jews. Herod was king. He had it all set up just the way he wanted it. Jesus threatened that.
Herod's fears were well-founded because Jesus does upset the status quo. He knows we need Him as King and unapologetically demands nothing less than Lordship in our lives.
2. We take steps to stop the threat of control.
Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Behlehem 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." (Mt. 2:7-8)
If we don't want intrusions into our self-controlling life, we will work against anything threatening our lordship, including God Himself. Herod did this secretly and he also did it deceptively. He feigned a spirituality he didn't have, claiming a desire to worship this Child. But his wicked heart had other plans.
When we resist God's control, we get devious and manipulative. If pressed, we will go to any lengths to stop His invasions into our little kingdom.
3. In anger, we try to eliminate the King
Herod ... became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all in its vicinity, from two years old and under" (Mt. 2:16)
When threatened, if we are set on self-control, we will seek to smother any threat to our self-made life. We may not go so far as Herod, but we will effectively kill this Kingly invasion by any means possible.
Look around our culture. Watch the constant battle against evangelical Christianity. Why the fuss? Why are people aggressively trying to kill any mention of Christ in our schools, media, government, culture, and communities? It's Herod all over again.
But never mistake the intent ... it's about self. We want to be in charge and avoid interruptions to our kingdoms. It has forever existed and will until the final day when "every knee will bow" before the true King.
GOD ALSO RESPONDS
In an amazing commentary, (written hundreds of years before Christ’s birth), David writes about this rebellion.
Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart and cast away their cords from us!” (Ps. 2:1-3)
And we hear God’s response to man’s rebellion.
He who sits in the heavens laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain.” (Ps. 2:4-6)
God laughs at our rebellion, for He has installed Christ as King, and nothing will change this. We may kick against His lordship all we want. Kings may make every proclamation and evil design to eliminate Him, but it does not phase God. He determines who is King. And David wisely tells us to worship Him with reverence and rejoice.
THE WORSHIP THAT BRINGS JOY
Gratefully some see their desperate need and long for a King. Their response is amazingly different. We see this response in the magi who came searching for Christ.
1. The news of a possible King brings joy, not frustration
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (Mt. 2:10)
Just the thought that Jesus existed delighted the wise men's hearts. They were looking for him and desired him.
2. The response to His presence is worship, surrender, and joy!
After coming into the house they saw the Child … and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts. (Mt. 2:11)
These men longed for Christ and responded with humility, worship, and offerings. These were the men (and always are) who found peace and life. Those who acknowledge and install Christ as King in their hearts will always discover the greatest satisfaction and highest joy.
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