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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bent

The Unwise Men (16-01-23)

Psalm of Praise: Psalms 101:1-2

I will sing of your love and justice; to you, Lord, I will sing praise.

I will be careful to lead a blameless life, when will you come to me?

I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart.

Bible Reading: Matthew 2:1-3,16

After Jesus' birth, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem.

They asked, "Where is the child who has been born to be king of the Jews?

When we were in the east, we saw his star. Now we have come to worship him."

When King Herod heard about it, he was very upset…

When Herod realized that the Wise Men had tricked him he became very angry.

He gave orders concerning Bethlehem and the area around it.

All the boys two years old and under were to be killed.

This agreed with the time when the Wise Men had seen the star.

A Reflection:

It is said of men driving from A to B, very wrongly I think, ‘If all else fails, ask for directions’. Actually, asking for directions may not always be the wisest course of action.

In one of his Christmas messages Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, reflected on the wisdom of the Wise Men. In their search for the new-born king the Wise Men followed a star from the time it rose in the east until they arrived in Jerusalem. At this point they asked for directions from the reigning King, Herod.

Not such a wise decision. It put at risk the very child they had come to worship and it took the intervention of an angel to whisk the family off to safety in Egypt in order to protect the new-born Messiah from the murderous Herod. It also resulted in the deaths of many innocent young boys.

Maybe they hadn’t noticed that the star they had followed to Jerusalem had not stopped but was continuing onwards. And I am sure it would have seemed perfectly logical for the Wise Men to expect to find a new-born king to be in a palace in the capital city of his country. But human logic is not the same as godly wisdom, and godly wisdom can often be in short supply.

I wonder whether there have been times in your life when your lack of wisdom has caused a problem. Hopefully not on the scale of Herod’s infanticide, maybe just some ill chosen words or actions. Why not bring them to God now in confession.

In his letter to the churches the apostle James writes, ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all’ (James 1:5).

Let us take God at his word and ask him for the gift of wisdom and, as we travel on our journeys through life, let us continually look to him for the guidance we need in the decisions that we make, and let us not rely simply on human logic.


God of all wisdom, I recognise that there are times when I have acted unwisely.

I ask you to forgive me, and to give me the gift of wisdom.


Be thou my vision

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