Friday, December 19, 2008

“Where Is He”

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2

The wise men from the east are the first recorded God chasers found in the new testament. They would have been called pagans and there customs considered abominable under Mosaic law. The word Magi as they are called in some versions of the Bible suggests that they may have been magicians, or sorcerers. How they got their revelation of the coming of a Messiah King is certainly speculative, but God will always reward hungry searchers. Regardless, the Magi came from a great distance, at great personal cost, seeking the newly born Messiah King. They had gifts in their hands and worship in their hearts. After a long and taxing journey they took their eyes off the star that had guided them thus far, and decided instead to seek man's wisdom. They stumble into Jerusalem, the city of the kings, asking, “Where is He?”

They were not the first, and they certainly weren‘t the last people to ask this important question. The prophecy that foretold that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem of Judea was given approximately 700 years before the time of Jesus birth. For all those years the faithful had been watching and waiting and asking this same question, “Where is He?”

There are few people who have ever lived any amount of time on this earth, be they atheist or the most religious among us, who have not ask this question from time to time. The atheist will look at all the hunger, disease, and natural disaster happening throughout the world, and use it as an excuse to say, “If He does exist, Where is He?” The faith-filled believer who has been waiting, praying, and believing for God to deliver a loved one from cancer will also ask, “Where is He?” Others will say, “my house is about to be repossessed,” or “my spouse has just died and I feel so alone, Where is He?” There are a myriad of situations, but the question remains the same Where is He?”

Why does it often seem that God is so slow to show up on the scene of our despair? Why is it seeming so hard to find Him? While a 700 year wait is not something we can physically or mentally accept, the fact remains that no matter how long it may take, or hard the process, God always fulfills his promises. He comes, however, according to His time and His purposes, not according to ours. “..while they were there the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son…” Luke 2:6-7 “But when the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his son, made of a woman, made of the law.” Gal. 4:4 God is not moved simply by our need. If he was, we would never have one. For as sinful mortal men, we are always in desperate need.

I wish I could say I had the answer to your particular question of “Where is He?” But the simple truth is, I can’t. I will however try to give you a few bits of encouragement to keep you on your quest to find Him.

There are times when there is nothing we can do but wait and earnestly pray for the day to be hastened when God's promises to us will be fulfilled. We see this in the stories of Simeon and Anna found in Luke 2:21-38. The scripture says Simeon “was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel.” Because his heart was so passionately bent on seeing the messiah, God had revealed to him “that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” And so he did. Likewise Anna a widow for 84 years was so determined not to miss her chance at her God encounter, that she did not even leave the temple “but served God with fasting and prayer night and day.” These two may have asked for many years, “Where is He?” But their passionate persistence paid off, for they both got to experience what Moses longed for, to see the face of God.

There are other times we must do more than just wait. We must be moved to actively seek Him with all that is within us or our opportunity will pass us by. Once they reached Jerusalem after traveling for so long and so far and still not finding the Messiah King, the wise men may have began to doubt the truth of the revelation that they had received, prompting them to ask, “Where is He?” But the simple fact remains, that had they stayed in Babylon, simply waiting and praying, rather than being moved to pursue Him, they would never have encountered him. But because of their persistence, these so called pagans also got to see the face of God, worship at his side, and present to Him their gifts.

So, where is this Savior King? Where is this promised Deliverer? He is as close as the end of a whispered prayer. But our usual self centered casual prayers may not move Him to our side as quickly as we desire. Just as a casual request from your child to come to them, may not move you from your easy chair, but upon hearing a crash, followed by a bloodcurdling scream, you will move from your place of rest to your child’s side at the speed of light, taking the door off the hinges in the process, likewise our cries of brokenness and desperation for Him moves Gods heart quickly toward us. If we, like Anna, were determined to seek the Lord night and day for as long as it took, lest we miss our encounter with Him, we, like her, would surely see His face.

“If from there you will seek (inquire for and require as necessity) the Lord your God, you will find Him if you (truly) seek Him with all your heart (and mind) and soul and life.” Duet. 4:29 Amp

“… the Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him (inquire for and of Him, craving Him as your soul’s first necessity), He will be found by you;…” 2 Chron. 15:2 Amp

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