“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” – Micah 5:2.
Have you ever thought about how easy travel is today? The family piles into the SUV to take a ride to the grandparent’s house for Christmas. Even though it is December, it is hot in Florida. But no problem. You are riding in air conditioned comfort. You are rocking to your favorite tunes. You are sitting in a soft leather seat. You soon grow tired of listening to the music so you get out your laptop and start a Christmas movie you haven’t finished yet. You hit a bump in the road, but the shocks level it off to nothing. You didn’t even spill your Diet Coke sitting in the cup holder. Your grandparent’s live about 200 miles from your house and you will get there in about 3 hours. Even then it seems to take too long. But it will be so worth it to sit down to Grandma’s turkey, all the trimmings and some of that to-die-for apple pie.
Now, compare your normal traveling experience to that of the wisemen in Biblical times. Back then you walked almost everywhere you went—to work, to worship, and even sometimes to your relatives (who might live thirty miles away). When Jesus was on earth, it seems that He walked nearly everywhere He went. Although animals such as mules, donkeys, horses, and camels often were used when traveling really long distances, walking was still the most common method of travel.
We know that the wisemen were from “the East,” most likely Persia, or modern-day Iran. This means the wisemen traveled 800 to 900 miles to see the Christ child. Traveling in ancient times was much different than it is today. To avoid the extreme heat of the sun, travelers would often journey by night, and get their direction from the stars. People also traveled at nighttime in order to help escape detection from thieves, who (like in the parable of the Good Samaritan—Luke 10:29-37) would hide beside the road waiting for someone to rob. And if that was not enough, a traveler had to beware of wild animals along the way. Lions, leopards, and bears were just a few of the animals that used to lurk about the land of Palestine.
In view of the many dangers that travelers encountered along their journeys, the wisemen traveled a long distance to see the Christ child. They stepped out in faith. Many times our journeys, the most difficult ones the Lord asks us to take will be like the wisemen, and we feel like we begin it all alone. However, God is always with us–willing to lead and guide us as we look to Him and follow Him step by step.
Many times, the Lord will also provide others to journey with us—who kind of meet us half way yet they become just a big part of our journeys. Together we encourage one another and cheer one another on—pick one another up when one falls and rejoice as we get closer to the finish line that the Lord has called us to.
- Have you ever taken some steps in life without knowing where and if God was leading you? What happened?
- Do you think you would have the faith to take on a 900 miles trip in Biblical times?
- Trusting God often means dropping conditions that we have. Agree or disagree?
- What conditions do we need to drop this week?