January 23

Genesis 25:23 (NIV) 23The LORD said to her, "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."

The unnamed servant of Abraham went to Haran and sought out a wife for Isaac. If we follow the analogy of Isaac being a foreshadow of Christ, then this servant is like the Holy Spirit seeking the bride of Christ. He found Rebecca and took her from her father's house without delay. When Rebecca was joined with her husband, she found a war within her. Is that not true of us, the bride of Christ. The flesh is warring against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh (Galatians 5:17).

The custom of that day was for the firstborn to receive twice as much as any other heir along with the responsibility and authority of the father. That has carried down to this day in many Eastern countries, but God reversed the order with Abraham's sons and Isaac's sons, and others. The picture is that the firstborn, the flesh, must serve the second born, the spirit. There must be a separation as God predicted to Rebecca. We have to set the flesh aside, crucify it with Christ, and refuse to serve it. Even more than that, we must master it.

Which one is the stronger? If we look physically, by sight, we would say Esau. Notice the prophecy says 'one people will be stronger'. If we look at the people descended from them, the Jewish people have been stronger spiritually and in persistence. These two are at war, even as I write, through the nations they have become. There is a war within you, Christian brother or sister. You must set the flesh aside. The Spirit is stronger. Don't for a moment believe the flesh is. The older will serve the younger. See that it is so by yielding to the life of Jesus in you every day.

Meditation: "For sin shall not be your master." Romans 6:14a (NIV)

January 23

Matthew 2:1-2, 11 (NIV) 1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and 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."

11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.

The Magi came from the East. It seems most probable that they are from the area of ancient Babylon. They may have still had access to the ancient writings of Daniel, who himself was considered Magi (one of the wise men) serving the kings of that area. Daniel had predicted the time of the coming Messiah of the Jews. Knowing from those writings that the time was near, these men were probably waiting for a sign of His birth.

God gave them their cue. Upon coming to Jerusalem, they asked Herod where the new king was born. Paranoid Herod the Great inquired of the Jewish scholars who knew from the writings of the prophet Micah that the place of His birth would be Bethlehem. Herod feigned a desire to worship this new king also, and asked them to bring a report of where they found Him. He was actually planning to assassinate the King of kings.

God led them to the Joseph and family. Jesus was then a toddler. They did what they had traveled all that way to do. They worshipped Him. Then they presented the gifts: gold for a king, incense for a priest, and myrrh, which speaks of His death. (Isaiah 60 tells us He will be given the first two gifts at His second coming.) This toddler would be the ultimate fulfillment of King and priest and would die in our place. Daniel had predicted that death also. The money would finance their flight into Egypt, escaping the paranoia of Herod.

Consider how much effort and thought these men put into worshipping Jesus. Then, think about how much effort and thought goes into your expression of worship.