VIDEO Fit for a King! Humility – The Wise Men

Fit for a King! Humility

And when [the Magi] had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:11

The Japanese people are the most willing to demonstrate humility in public—by bowing. There are multiple degrees of bowing—from a slight bow when greeting others to a ninety-degree, right-angle bow from the waist, held for an appropriate length of time, when sincere humility or apology is called for. In extreme cases, a bow from a kneeling position is executed.

Kneeling, even prostrating oneself, is a typical act of humility. It’s the kind of worshipful humility demonstrated by the Magi when they entered the place where the Christ-Child lay: “They . . . fell down and worshiped Him” before presenting their gifts to Him. These were important men in their Persian culture, making their obeisance toward a Child all the more meaningful. Humility is the sign of our recognition of our place in God’s world.

How might we humble ourselves before Christ this Christmas? By bowing before Him—spiritually, even physically—as a demonstration of our recognition of His Lordship in our life.


The Wise Men

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Hope Is Our Strategy

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me. Micah 7:7

My favorite football team has lost eight consecutive games as I write this. With each loss, it’s harder to hope this season can be redeemed for them. The coach has made changes weekly, but they haven’t resulted in wins. Talking with my coworkers, I’ve joked that merely wanting a different outcome can’t guarantee it. “Hope is not a strategy,” I’ve quipped.

That’s true in football. But in our spiritual lives, it’s just the opposite. Not only is cultivating hope in God a strategy, but clinging to Him in faith and trust is the onlystrategy. This world often disappoints us, but hope can anchor us in God’s truth and power during the turbulent times.

Micah understood this reality. He was heartbroken by how Israel had turned away from God. “What misery is mine! . . . The faithful have been swept from the land; not one upright person remains” (7:1–2). But then he refocused on his true hope: “But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me” (v. 7).

What does it take to maintain hope in harsh times? Micah shows us: Watching. Waiting. Praying. Remembering. God hears our cries even when our circumstances are overwhelming. In these moments, clinging to and acting in response to our hope in God is our strategy, the only strategy that will help us weather life’s storms.

Father, You’ve promised to be an anchor for our hearts when circumstances look discouraging. Help us call out to You in faith and hope, believing that You hear our hearts’ cries.

What does it take to maintain hope in harsh times? Watching. Waiting. Praying. Remembering.

By Adam Holz

INSIGHT

Micah prophesied some sixty-five years to Israel and Judah during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah (Micah 1:1). He was a contemporary with Hosea, who prophesied to Israel (Hosea 1:1), and to Isaiah, who prophesied to Judah (Isaiah 1:1). Accusing God’s people of idolatry, moral corruption, oppression (Micah 1:7; 2:1–2; 3:9–11), Micah warned of God’s discipline. He called the people “to act justly and to love mercy” (6:8). His prophesy that Israel would be destroyed (1:6) came to pass in 722 bc (2 Kings 17:5–7). Micah also warned that “[Judah] will become a heap of rubble” (Micah 3:12). Because Hezekiah, the king of Judah, repented, Jerusalem was spared destruction from the invading Assyrians (2 Chronicles 32:20–22; Jeremiah 26:18–19).

K. T. Sim

A Barrier to Enjoying God

Romans 6:12-15

Several years ago I counseled a woman who was consumed by bitterness toward her father. He had abandoned the family and refused to acknowledge her as his daughter. Then he became ill and sought to make amends, but the woman refused to hear him. She clung to that unforgiving spirit for many years after her father died. When she finally repented, she told me that the burden of her bitterness had kept her from enjoying God.

One of the Holy Spirit’s roles is to make believers aware of attitudes and actions that are contrary to God’s will. If we decide to resist conviction, we will naturally try to quiet the Spirit’s voice—which often means giving the Lord less of our time or none at all. Then unconfessed sin will cause us to walk away from the Father instead of delighting in our relationship with Him.

Sin usually feels good in some way—temporarily. For example, we can feel justified in our bitterness when the other person has wronged us. Sometimes we want to hold on to resentment and prolong our sense of validation. But as believers, we cannot run our life by emotion. We must consider God’s truth: The Bible says that if we refuse to confess and repent, sin will enslave our heart and destroy our testimony.

Satan tempts us with sins that are likely to look and feel good to our natural self—a habit that gives pleasure or solace is easier to justify than one that seems repulsive. But no sinner is truly happy chasing after wickedness. Authentic joy is found only in oneness with the Lord.

IF These Things be in you

“For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:8) 

In this first chapter of Peter’s last epistle, he refers to “these things” (one word in the Greek) no less than six times. That they are extremely important things is evident from our text, but if these things are lacking, one is spiritually blind and has forgotten what Christ did for him in salvation (v. 9). However, if he does “these things,” he will never fall (v. 10).

What then are the things which Peter stresses so urgently? Verse 8 makes it obvious that they constitute simply the hierarchical catalog of Christian attributes listed in verses 6 and 7—that is, faith, virtue (strength of character), knowledge, temperance (self control), patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity (unselfish love).

The same word is used in verse 4, where it explains how we are enabled to acquire these traits of Christian character. “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these [‘by these things’] ye might be partakers of the divine nature.”

When these things characterize our lives, we become nothing less than Christlike. He, in His humanity, was all these things as He shared our nature, and we have become partakers of His divine nature when we manifest them.

The wonderful thing is that they are all mediated to us through the gracious promises of the Word of God. God promises, we believe, and then receive! There is an effectual promise for the achievement of each stage in the growth of a Christlike character. Indeed, as Peter had already said by way of introduction, “his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3). HMM

There was a rainbow round about the throne

There was a rainbow round about the throne.”

Revelation 4

Revelation 4:2, 3

jasper of a rich and brilliant colour

Revelation 4:2, 3

and a sardine stone of blood red hue

Revelation 4:2, 3

Lest the brightness indicated by the jasper, and the fiery justice symbolised by the sardine stone, should repel the gaze of faith, the throne is surrounded by the covenant rainbow, in which the predominating colour is the gentle green, the ensign of mercy.

Revelation 4:4

These represent the church glorified in heaven. Royal ones, for they are crowned; priestly ones, and therefore clothed in white. “He hath made us unto our God kings and priests.”

Revelation 4:6

Probably representing some noble order of creatures which are very near to God, and serve him with great watchfulness and ardour. Perhaps above all angels, cherubim and seraphim, these four orders of beings rise into greater nearness to God.

Revelation 4:7-11

Adoration is the employment of heaven, and none can be desired more honourable or delightful. How happy shall we be when we too shall stand and bow before the throne in concert with that mighty host.

Revelation 5

Revelation 5:1

The roll was full and written on both sides. The divine purposes are here intended.

Revelation 5:6

He possesses fulness of power, fulness of wisdom, and fulness of the Holy Spirit.

Revelation 5:7

No man knows the Father save the Son; the Son alone can reveal the decrees of Jehovah.

Revelation 5:8-10

The Lamb is, therefore, God, or he would not thus be adored. Jesus, our Saviour, is assuredly “God over all, blessed for ever. Amen.”

Revelation 5:11-14

Do all things thus worship Jesus? then let us adore him. Oh for warm hearts with which to extol his precious name. All hail, Lord Jesus! our very souls worship thee with lowliest and most loving reverence.

 

Who shall the Father’s record search,

And hidden things reveal?

Behold, the Son that record takes,

And opens every seal!

 

Hark how th’ adoring hosts above

With songs surround the throne!

Ten thousand thousand are their tongues;

But all their joys are one.

 

“Worthy the Lamb that died,” they cry,

“To be exalted thus;”

“Worthy the Lamb,” our lips reply,

“For he was slain for us.”

 


Now to the Lamb, that once was slain,

Be endless blessings paid;

Salvation, glory, joy remain

For ever on thy head.

 

Thou hast redeem’d our souls with blood,

Hast set the prisoners free;

Hast made us kings and priests to God,

And we shall reign with thee.

 

Thou art the First, and thou the Last;

Time centres all in thee,

The Almighty God, who was, and is,

And evermore shall be.

 


Thou hast promised by the prophets,

Glorious light in latter days;

Come and bless bewilder’d nations,

Change our prayers and tears to praise:

Promised Spirit,

Round the world diffuse thy rays.

 

All our hopes, and prayers, and labours,

Must be vain without thine aid:

But thou wilt not disappoint us;

All is true that thou hast said:

Gracious Spirit,

O’er the world thine influence spread.

 


Praise ye the Lord, exalt his name,

While in his holy courts ye wait,

Ye saints that to his house belong,

Or stand attending at his gate.

 

Praise ye the Lord; the Lord is good,

To praise his name is sweet employ;

Israel he chose of old, and still

His church is his peculiar joy.

 

The Lord himself will judge his saints;

He treats his servants as his friends;

And when he hears their sore complaints,

Repents the sorrow that he sends.

 


In Gabriel’s hand a mighty stone

Lies, a fair type of Babylon:

“Prophets, rejoice, and all ye saints,

God shall avenge your long complaints.”

 

He said, and dreadful as he stood,

He sank the millstone in the flood:

“Thus terribly shall Babel fall,

Thus and no more be found at all.”

 

Word Made Flesh

And lo, a voice from heaven saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17)

I have given much thought and contemplation to the sweetest and tenderest of all of the mysteries in God’s revelation to man—the Incarnation! Jesus, the Christ, is the Eternal One, for in the fullness of time He humbles Himself. John’s description is plain: the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

I confess that I would have liked to have seen the baby Jesus. But the glorified Jesus yonder at the right hand of the Majesty on high, was the baby Jesus once cradled in the manger straw. Taking a body of humiliation, He was still the Creator who made the wood of that manger, made the straw, and was Creator of all the beasts that were there.

In truth, He made the little town of Bethlehem and all that it was. He also made the star that lingered over the scene that night. He had come into His own world, His Father’s world. Everything we touch and handle belongs to Him. So we have come to love Him and adore Him and honor Him!

 

Immediately Present

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Ps. 46:1

A help that is not present when we need it is of small value. The anchor which is left at home is of no use to the seaman in the hour of storm; the money which he used to have is of no worth to the debtor when a writ is out against him. Very few earthly helps could be called “very present”: they are usually far in the seeking, far in the using, and farther still when once used. But as for the Lord our God, He is present when we seek Him, present when we need Him, and present when we have already enjoyed His aid.

He is more than “present,” He is very present. More present than the nearest friend can be, for He is in us in our trouble; more present than we are to ourselves, for sometimes we lack presence of mind. He is always present, effectually present, sympathetically present, altogether present. He is present now if this is a gloomy season. Let us rest ourselves upon Him. He is our refuge, let us hide in Him; He is our strength, let us array ourselves with Him; He is our help, let us lean upon Him; He is our very present help, let us repose in Him now. We need not have a moment’s care, or an instant’s fear. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

 

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