Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”
God is looking for leaders who recognize the signs of their times. Such was the case of the three wise men who were so in tune with their times that they were able to pinpoint when the long-awaited Messiah was born. They recognized that God had come in their midst.
These three men may have been philosophers, priests or astronomers, and they probably lived in Persia or Arabia. They were marketplace ministers of the Eastern nations devoted to astronomy, religion and medicine. The magi were held in high esteem by the Persian court, were admitted in the king’s presence as counselors, and followed the camps in war to give advice. They came from the professional ranks in society and were authorities in their fields of expertise.
The wise men were likely aware of the prophecy of Balaam, which said that a “star” would come out of Jacob (see Numbers 24:17). When the prophecy was fulfilled at Jesus’ birth, they came and gave three distinct gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each of these gifts had prophetic significance.
Frankincense was a white resin or gum obtained from a tree by making incisions in the bark to cause the gum to flow out. It was highly fragrant when burned and was often used in worship as a pleasant offering to God. Myrrh (a name that indicates bitterness) was obtained from a tree in the same manner as frankincense. It was used chiefly in embalming the dead to preserve bodies from putrefaction.
Like the men of Issachar who “understood the times and knew what Israel should do” (1 Chronicles 12:32), the three wise men were aware of God’s activities in their times.
Are you recognizing God’s activity in your times?

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