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Dreams, Journeys, and a Star

Key References: Matthew 2:1-15; The Desire of Ages, chap. 6, pp. 59-67; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 7, pp. 47-56; Our Beliefs nos. 1, 18, 8

Power Text

“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail” (Isaiah 58:11).

Power Point

We worship God when we follow His guidance.

Did you ever wonder what to do or which way to go? How helpful would it have been to have had a guide? In this story, several people received guidance from God. Try to picture their experiences . . .

As darkness gathered, some Wise Men caught a glimpse of the new star they had first noticed the night before. “Look! There it is again. It looks as if it is beckoning to us, saying ‘Follow me’,“ said the first.

“You just may have something this time,” replied the second. He turned to his scrolls. “According to Balaam’s prophecy, ‘a star shall come out of Jacob,’ and according to the writings of Daniel, the time for the Messiah’s coming should be near” (see Numbers 24:17 and Daniel 9:25, 26). The Wise Men from east of Judea continued their study and discussion far into the evening.

That night they fell asleep thinking about the star, the prophecies, and the baby King who was to be a Savior for all nations. God impressed them, possibly in a dream, that they should go to find the baby Messiah.

The following night as they observed the star they made plans for their journey, to go and worship Him. They had no idea where they were going, but they all agreed that they would just follow the star. Each had been impressed that God was leading them.

“What should we bring as gifts?” asked one of them.

“I think we should each bring him a gift,” said the first. “I will bring him gold.”

“That’s a good idea. I could bring him some of my aromatic myrrh,” proposed a second wise man.

“Well, then I will bring some of my priced frankincense,” said another one.

Unbeknown to these men, each one 99 of their gifts had a significance related to Jesus’ life. The gift of gold symbolized His royal origins from David’s lineage as well as His eternal rulership as the King of kings. Because myrrh was used to embalm the dead for burial, such a gift prefigured Jesus’ death as sacrifice for our sins. Frankincense was used in the Temple by the priests, so it would symbolize Jesus’ role as our high priest who intercedes for the forgiveness of our sins.

After the necessary preparations for the journey, the Wise Men saddled their camels and left to find the newborn king. The star that they first saw at the time Jesus was born would guide them by night. For many weeks and months the travelers patiently followed the star. At last they saw the golden dome of the Temple in Jerusalem. They made their way into town with great anticipation. “Where is the new King of the Jews?” they asked excitedly. Their inquiries were met by blank, confused looks.

The news spread quickly. King Herod invited them to stay as his guests for a while until he could discover some information for them. The information would be useful to him as well, as he planned how to get rid of any potential competitor for the throne that might have been born.

Herod sent for the priests, who looked at the old prophecies. From them he learned that it was foretold that a king would be born in Bethlehem. Herod called the Wise Men to tell them what he had discovered. He asked them to return to Jerusalem with news of the baby’s place of birth so that he too could go and worship the new king.

Again the Wise Men followed the star. It stopped on the outskirts of Bethlehem. When they reached where it had stopped, they were in front of a very humble dwelling. Inside they found Mary, Joseph, and the child Jesus. When they saw Jesus, they knew that their journey had not been a waste of time. In spite of the unlikely surroundings, God 101 impressed them that they had found the One they were looking for. They worshipped Him and gave Him their gifts.

Once again God was guiding the plans of those who trusted Him. Through a dream He warned the Wise Men not to return to Herod, but to go home another way. They obeyed, and returned to their homes to spread the wonderful news about Jesus.

But there are two more dreams and two more journeys in this story. When Herod realized that the visitors were not coming back through Jerusalem, he started plotting evil. But God’s planning was way ahead of Herod’s. Once again He used a dream to impress Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and leave immediately for Egypt.

By trusting God’s care and guidance, Joseph was able to lead Mary and Jesus to safety in Egypt, far from Herod and his evil schemes. With the gifts brought by the Wise Men, the little family was able to live in a foreign country for a while. God would let them know when the danger was past, and would guide them back home to Nazareth.