Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 2, Matthew 2, Ezra 2 and Acts 2.
In the narrative in Genesis 2:18-23 it is God who identifies Adam’s need for a companion. But before God meets that need, he helps Adam to feel that need by giving him the task of naming the animals. As they came before him he would doubtless notice that many of them had companions according to their kind. But he did not. No animal matched him, until…
It is tempting to preach only to people’s felt needs, but like God we must surface other, deeper needs in people’s lives so that they will feel the need and desire a change.
I remember some speaker from the past, likely my Bible College days, who interpreted
23 Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”
“Wowza! Dy-no-mite! She’s like me, but different!”
The wise men followed a star to Jerusalem and then on to Bethlehem. They surmised that it was “his star,” that is, the star of the Messiah, king of the Jews. Jehovah Witnesses believe that this was Satan’s star, because it identified where Jesus was and Herod wanted to kill him. While it is true that Herod wanted to kill his competition to the throne, it wasn’t the star, but Herod’s murderous intent that was Satanic. The wise men were warned by God not to tell Herod this news. It seems, therefore, that they were led by God all the way–from the east, to Jerusalem, to Bethlehem, then to leave and go home.
If this were Satan’s star, why not lead Herod to Jesus? Why did he need the wise men? The star led the wise men to Jesus to worship him. It was Herod’s hard heart that led him to try to kill Jesus and kill the children (in an effort to kill Jesus).
So why did God bring the wise men (pagans) to Jesus? Because God had already purposed that Jesus would spend time in Egypt (see the prophecy in 2:15). The gifts of the wise men prepared them financially to make that trip to Egypt.
And the winner is—the sons of Senaah (Ezra 2:35). They gathered 3,630 family members to return to Israel. The loser was the sons of Adonikam (Ezra 2:13). They didn’t have the least, but they had 666 (bad number).
The early church–Spirit filled, preaching Christ, devoting themselves to the teaching and to one another–and growing (Acts 2).