I. The Wise Give God What He Likes
A. The Wise Seek to Worship, Firsthand
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and have come to worship him.
Worship begins with an acknowledgement of who Jesus is and who we are
Worship is a Response to Revelation (Genesis 22)
Wisdom is choosing the right objectives and the right means of obtaining those objectives (Psalm 90)
The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom (Proverbs 9:10)
B. the Wise Give Appropriately of Their Best: came, saw, fell, worshipped, opened, gave, and departed another way
11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented to him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
C. The Wise Experience Joy and a Changed Life
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy...12 And being warned by God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
II. The Foolish Give Themselves Migraines: heard, troubled, gather, enquire, scheme, lie, angry, destroyed
A. The Foolish Worship Themselves, and Wind up Fighting against God
3 When Herod the king had heard [these things], he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he enquired of them where the Christ should be born. 5 And they said to him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 and thou Bethlehem, [in] the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
The foolish have no expectation, nor knowledge of God and His ways (Psalm 14)
The foolish can't add (Daniel 9)
B. The Foolish Give Secondhand Lip service to God
7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found [him], bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
The foolish are content with a second hand encounter with God (to reduce responsibility - Exodus 20:19-20)
The foolish seek to get or preserve rather than give (Luke 12:20)
C. The Foolish Remain Unchanged, Experiencing Frustration & Anger, Harming Themselves and Others
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men, was exceeding angry, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,
18 In Ramah was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping [for] her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
The foolish experience inner turmoil and anger because they are threatened by a world outside their control (Prov 28:26)
The foolish remain unchanged (Proverbs 27:22)
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. What other characteristics of the wise and foolish do you see exemplified in the Magi and Herod?
2. Which of the elements of wise worship typified by the Magi is most lacking in our culture?
3. What kinds of gifts does God like (Colossians 1)? Does He want us all to be "Little Drummer Boys"?
4. How much is Jesus "worth" to you? Is His value reflected in your worship?
5. In what ways has "worship" changed you? In what ways could your worship get an upward lift?