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"He Inquired of Them" (Matthew 2:4) by Librae Jackson, Deacon
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2012
Posted by: The Gospel Church | more..
850+ views | 110+ clicks
"And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’'

Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” (Matthew 2:4-7)

Herod and his people in Jerusalem were troubled by the arrival of Christ, who was “born King of the Jews” (v2). They had the Scriptures, which foretold of Christ, but did not believe the Scriptures in such a way, as to be comforted by them. When Herod referred to the Scriptures, what did he expect to find? He made an insincere inquiry, and missed out on the Gospel.

Know Christ; Don’t Just Know About Him

"And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born" (v4).

When we approach the Scriptures, will it be for mere information, or will we actually put into practice what we learn from the word of God? The Scriptures were written for us to know Christ, in a saving way. The Scriptures can only be of value to our souls, as they compel us to worship God in Spirit and truth, bowing to Christ, in the obedience of faith. When rightly used, the Scriptures bring us unto confession, forgiveness, cleansing and repentance of sin. Any use of the Scriptures that does not involve the forsaking of ourselves to follow The Lord Jesus Christ, is a misuse of the Book. May Herod’s treachery stand as a warning to us, that we would not handle the word of God deceitfully.

Herod had no intention of bowing to what was written. In fact, he consulted the Scriptures, only to find a way out of believing the good news. How many people today have such an attitude about the Gospel? How many people, rather than looking for Christ in the Scriptures, in order to worship Him, treat the Bible as an interesting textbook of historical facts and conventional principles - or even worse - a compilation of fables to merely demonstrate moral lessons? It's this type of thinking that leads people to believe that the Bible is a "take it or leave it" type of book, with teachings that are optional and/or on the same level as other texts that have been written throughout the ages. Such thinking is confronted by the stark claim that the Holy Bible is God’s word, and the fact that all 66 of its books cohesively testify of Christ, who Himself, is the Word of God. A diverse collection of men penned the Bible, but the Spirit of God is the Author (2 Peter 1:20-21), and Christ is its singular message (John 5:39). Furthermore, every person who has ever lived will be judged by what's in that Book. It deserves much more consideration than the average person typically gives it (religious, or otherwise). Like Herod, many people make the horrible mistake of approaching the Scriptures the wrong way - not seeking to know and obey God's revealed will.

We see that in verses 4-6 of Matthew 2, Herod had Micah 5 read to him by the chief priests and scribes, whose job it was to study the writings of Moses and the prophets. They were supposedly well-versed experts in the Scriptures, but they missed Christ. It's a tragic example of people who had the Scriptures, but did not live by them. Let's all avoid the folly of trifling with God's word (and our own souls) like this.

"And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:4-6)

This text contained some wonderful news for God’s elect. It can be said of Herod, like all others who perish in unbelief, that he did not believe because he was not of Christ’s chosen sheep (John 10:26). However, he was still culpable for every bit of his rebellion. Rather than being brought Godward by the Scriptures, Herod willfully misused them, and missed out on the blessings contained therein.

Paul told Timothy that: all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16).

The Scriptures were written for a specific purpose, but those who twist them, do so "to their own destruction" (2 Peter 3:16). Like many an unregenerate sinner, Herod's immediate agenda, upon hearing the Gospel, was to discount it; prove it untrue; put an end to it; stamp it out - although he pretended to be in alignment with it.

Seek Christ For Yourself

"Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also” (Matthew 2:7-8).

Notice Herod’s directive to the wise men: “Go and search carefully…” What if Herod, himself, would have been a careful seeker? He would have found mercy, salvation and eternal life! But instead, he delegated the task to others. And those others were called wise men for a reason. They sought The Lord and found Him. Herod did not do so, and remained a fool.

Notice his words: “when you have found Him…” We cannot outsource the pursuit of inward peace that our souls require. We cannot count on others to find God for us. We must be active seekers, and sincere worshippers. Then, rather than saying “bring back word to me,” we can dig into the Scriptures to get our own particular needs met, and find out for ourselves what God’s will is. If we don’t, by the Gospel, get to Christ on a personal basis, we will have no relationship with God the Father, and no comfort of the Holy Spirit.

What if Herod would have gotten up from his vain throne and made a sincere pilgrimage after that star, like those wise men did? What if he would’ve thought enough about his eternal soul, to step out of the temporary comforts of his kingly palace, and embark upon a journey to find this true King, that they (and the Scriptures) spoke of? What if he would’ve arrived with them at that lowly manger, where the King of kings was laying, and worshipped Him, like everyone else there? Tragically for Herod, this is not how his history reads. He did not seek, nor find Christ. He was content to send others (who were, themselves, already en route). Herod had his own agenda, which did not involve bowing to the Son of God.

Herod had no intention of worshipping Christ. His pretense is reminiscent of many today who would call themselves "Christian," but in their hearts, they will not seek God's will as supreme. They still want to maintain their own self-rule and self-righteousness, rather than seeking "the kingdom of God and His righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). Let's be mindful that those three wise men, who left what they had, and pursued Christ, did not miss out on anything. They were blessed, beyond measure, to have been worshippers of King Jesus. Whatever they may have had before they found Him, it paled in comparison to the "unsearchable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:8).

Conversely, like Herod, all other fraudulent worshippers will be sorely disappointed. Herod never heard back from the wise men (Matthew 2:12). Likewise, those who trifle with the Gospel, and don't give Christ the honor and reverence He deserves, place themselves in danger of perishing, without hearing any more good news from God, or His people. Those who will not live by the word of God will die without the word of God. In Hell, they’ll never hear, nor see, nor experience anything good again…..ever.

Fraudulent Worship Breeds Mad Hatred

"Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men." (Matthew 2:16)

The Lord had warned the wise men in a dream not to return to Herod. When it was discovered that they would not play into his game, Herod became “exceedingly angry.” This extreme anger can be contrasted with the extreme gladness of the wise men, who, “when they saw the star, rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” (v10). In these two extremes, we can see how everyone can fit into one of two categories, with regard to the Gospel. They will either react with joy, or with anger. Those who are offended by the Gospel will direct their disagreeable anger at both the message and the messengers. Ultimately, their hatred is against God. However, since they are powerless to take their anger out on The Lord, they take it out on whomever they can.

Herod, in this insanely ruthless execution campaign, sought to stamp out the Gospel, by any means. He started out as a dissident to the Gospel, and ended up as a murderous madman, on a rampage. I’m reminded of how Cain slew his righteous brother Abel, setting the precedent for all future persecutions – from the killing of the prophets, to the crucifixion of Christ, to the martyrdom of His disciples over the past 2000 years. These murders have been perpetrated by both religious and secular adversaries. Such is the climate of current persecution that God’s people endure today. But neither this, nor even the very gates of Hell, can prevail against Christ’s church.

Librae Jackson Librae Jackson

Category:  Librae Jackson

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