Be A Good Steward Where God Puts You

Photo by Tim Umphreys on Unsplash

Please turn with me in your Bibles to Ezekiel 34. We’re going to go on a journey today that will end up in Bethlehem. Get ready to travel!

We have a tendency to think that what we do does not matter. After all, who am I? But the Bible is very clear that everything we as Christians do is important. The Apostle writes:

Colossians 3:23-24 (ESV) Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

And this as well, Galatians 6:7-8 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.

What you do (or don’t do) matters

Ancient Israel got into a mess because the leadership of the nation turned away from following God. The leaders didn’t do their jobs, and the people did not try to correct the problem. God told Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 34:2-8 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? 3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them. 5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them. 7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; 8 As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;

The shepherds or leaders in Israel fed themselves, and fed not my flock.

Parents were not tending to their children, but their own needs. Husbands were not tending to their wives, but their own needs. Priests were not sharing the Word of God with the people.Politicians and Princes were not focused on heeding God’s Word.
Israel had become lazy in her faith.
As the leadership goes, so goes the nation.

So Israel fell – no, they WALKED into Babylonian captivity. But not all of Israel divorced God. There were people like Daniel.

Daniel Faithfully Followed God
Not “Political Correctness” Nor The Crowd

Let’s move our caravan to the Book of Daniel. Daniel and Ezekiel were about the same age. Daniel, and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego loved the Lord.

Though they were taken into Babylonian captivity about 600 years before Christ came, they kept their eyes on the Lord and not on their situation.

The first test Daniel and his friends had to endure was whether they would compromise with their unbelieving captors or not. The Bible says:

Daniel 1:8-9 … Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. 9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs…

As Daniel sought to serve God first, God gave Daniel favor and compassion from his pagan taskmaster. Daniel loved God! God loved Daniel! When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream no one could interpret:

Daniel 2:19 … the secret {was} revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

Daniel refused to take credit for knowing the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Daniel told the King:

Daniel 2:27-28 … The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; 28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.

When Daniel gave Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of the dream, the King made Daniel …

Daniel 2:48 … ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

Word Study: The phrase the wise men is the Hebrewחַכִּים chakkîym, {pronounced khak-keem’}, which means “wise men, Magian or Magi”. Daniel was known as

Daniel 5:11 … a man … in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

Daniel was considered the wisest of the wise men. He was the Chief Magi. When Babylon fell to Assyria, the King of Assyria loved Daniel!

Daniel 6:1-3 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 2 And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. 3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Daniel put God first, and God made Daniel first. Daniel was over all the wise men, the Magi, over all the rulers in Medo-Persia. In “Manners And Customs Of The Bible” we read (Page 399):

These wise men, or more properly named Magi, belonged to a large and influential order of men. Though the origin of Magism is somewhat obscure, it’s thought to have it’s beginning among either the Chaldeans {Babylonians} or the Assyrians; more probably among the former.”

Daniel also prophesied of the coming of the Messiah (Daniel 9:24-27). The Magi knew that the Messiah was prophesied to be (Numbers 24:17) “… a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter … out of Israel”.

Daniel Planted A Seed Among The Magi,
Which Bloomed In Matthew Chapter Two

Matthew 2:1-2 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.

Word Study: What would cause a group of wise men(μάγος mágos, [pronounced mag’-os] or MAGI) to travel around 1000 miles to Jerusalem? Though exiled to Babylon, Daniel remained faithful to God. His faith planted a seed that would – 600 years later – lead these Magi to Jerusalem.

The Bible doesn’t tell us how many Magi there were in this group that came looking for Jesus. We do know, however,

  • First, they are Gentiles, not Jews. We learn this because they are Magi from the East (verse 1).
  • Second, we know that these Magi did not come when Jesus was in a manger. Look at verse:

Matthew 2:11 … And when they {the Magi} were come INTO THE HOUSE …

Word Study: Last week we saw the Shepherds come to visit Jesus, they found Him lying in a manger; because there was no room for them in the INN {κατάλυμα katalyma, “guest chamber”}. Though Jesus is still in Bethlehem, He is not in a manger but in a HOUSE or HOME (οἰκία oikía, [pronounced oy-kee’-ah]). Jesus was older than He was when He was in the manger. These Magi are seeking out Jesus to worship Him. Our Jesus is worthy of worship. I say again, Jesus is worthy of worship! God told Israel, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me … Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God an a jealous God … “ (Exodus 20:3, 5). And yet the Bible says:

Hebrews 1:6 (ESV) … when He {God} brings the firstborn {Jesus} into the world, He says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

Jesus Christ is worthy of worship! Our Jesus is “the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). It is only through Jesus Christ that we find “peace with God”.

Romans 5:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Magi followed a star, His Star to Jerusalem, so they could worship Jesus. Our Jesus is “the Root and Descendant of David, the Bright and Morning Star” (Revelation 22:16). Our Jesus is worthy of worship! Jesus is worth more than mere sustenance. “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, ESV). Jesus is the Living Word of God. In John 6:35 Jesus said:

I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

Jesus satisfies our hunger and thirst for righteousness. Only through Him are we filled (Matthew 5:6). Jesus is “the Light of the World”. The world stumbles about in the darkness of sin, but the believer follows the Savior and Lord of all.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Jesus is worthy of worship because – though Eternal God the Son – He came to this earth and humbled Himself to be our Good Shepherd:

In John 10:11 Jesus declared, I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Because Jesus has laid His life down for us, we have the promise of eternal life. Jesus said:

John 11:25-26 … I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. …

You may believe in many things, but if you do NOT believe in Jesus, you will not be saved from darkness and damnation. Jesus declared I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE: no one comes to the Father BUT BY ME.” (John 14:6).

The Magi Were “Joyous” Unbelievers Were “Troubled”

Matthew 2:3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Word Study: These Magi had been searching many miles and many months for Jesus. They were seeking Him out to worship Him. But Herod and Jerusalem were troubled. This is the Greek ταράσσω tarássō, {pronounced tar-as’-so}, which means “to strike one’s spirit with fear and dread, to be anxious, distressed, agitated like boiling water”. The Bible tells us that

1 John 3:8 … for this purpose the Son of God was manifested {became flesh}, that He might destroy the works of the devil.

The Lamb of God became incarnate {flesh} to defeat the devil, death, and disease. When Jesus came into the world, it was as if God had said once again “Let there be Light” and there was Light (Genesis 1:3). Yet those vested in darkness were not pleased with the Light of God coming into the world.

Jesus said in John 3:19 … this is the condemnation, that LIGHT is come into the world, and {people} LOVED DARKNESS rather than LIGHT, because THEIR DEEDS WERE EVIL ..

Herod did not want the Light that is Christ. Jerusalem did not want the Light that is Christ. Jesus came unto His own people (John 1:11), and HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT. Herod begins to plot.

Matthew 2:4-6 And when {Herod} had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, {Herod} demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.

The Priests and Scribes, well acquainted with the Scriptures, knew that Micah 5:2 noted that the “Ancient of Days” or the Incarnate Messiah would come from Bethlehem. Herod now knows where Jesus is. He tells the Magi:

Matthew 2:8-9 And {Herod} sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

The Magi had the guidance of an unbelieving King Herod, and supernatural star that led them to the exact home Jesus was in. The Devotional notes: Most amazing were the people of Jerusalem, and in particular, the religious scholars of Judaism, who knew where to turn in Scripture to learn about Messiah’s birth. —– Isaiah 9:6, Micah 5:2, Zechariah 9:9, Psalm 22:16-18. While the magi traveled many miles to worship Messiah, over a good deal of time, the people of Jerusalem could not find it in themselves to walk the five or six miles from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

The wordsexceeding great joy” {chairō sphodra megas chara} tell us that the Magi did not quietly go to Jesus. There was shouting, and praising of God. For 483 years the Magi had looked forward to meeting the Messiah. Now they were at the end of their journey.

Matthew 2:11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.

When the Magi came into the house they did not see Joseph, nor any animals nor shepherds. If they were there, the Scripture would have said so. No, they saw the young child with Mary his mother. Their response was to fall down, and worship Him. The Magi gave the young Jesus three gifts suited to our Lord and Savior.

  • They gave Jesus gold, a gift suitable for a King. Jesus Christ is the “blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15).
  • The Magi gave Jesus frankincense, a highly aromatic spice used on by the Priests in the worship of God. The formula for these holy spices is found in Exodus 30:34-38. God told the Priests “you shall not make {this spice} for yourselves. It shall be for you holy to the Lord. Whoever makes any like it to use as perfume shall be cut off from his people.” Jesus Christ is the High Priest of His people (Hebrews 3:1; 4:14-15; 5:5; 6:20; 9:11). We have direct access to God through Jesus Christ, and Jesus “maketh intercession for us” (Romans 8:34).
  • These Wise Men gave Jesus myrrh. Like frankincense, myrrh was a very costly item. It was used in the burial of the dead. The Israelis washed the corpse, then wound strips of cloth intermixed with myrrh and aloe. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross for our sins, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea brought a mixture of myrrh and aloe, about a hundred pound weight. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury” (John 19:39-40). Jesus Christ, our King and High Priest, would also be the Good Shepherd Who lays His life down for us (John 10:11).

Having completed their mission, the Magi (Matthew 2:12) “being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

Why Was Jesus Still In Bethlehem After Two Years?

In Luke 2 we see Jesus born, and laid in a manger. Some time later Jesus is still in Bethlehem, and as of yet Joseph has not taken his family back to Nazareth. So WHY is Jesus still in Bethlehem? It is because Jesus Christ, as the Messiah, must fulfill every Old Testament prophecy made about Him. When evil King Herod heard that the Magi went home without telling him where Jesus was, we read:

Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.

Herod decreed that his soldiers kill every child two years old and under. This tells us that Herod believed the Magi had been traveling up to two years to find the Christ. Rather than try and determine which child was the Christ, Herod had every child in that age range killed.

What a horrible thing! The Scripture goes on to tell us:

Matthew 2:17-18 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Matthew quotes the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:15, which foretold that Rachel would be heard weeping for her children. Bethlehem is not only the City of David, but it is the place where Rachel, one of the wives of Jacob, was buried (Genesis 35:19). It was prophesied that “Rachel” would weep and not be comforted because her “children are not”, that is, ceased to live. Herod would kill all the children 2 years old and younger. How horrible!

I often hear people judge God, saying, “If He were genuinely a loving and giving God, why would He allow such atrocities to bed done?” The answer is quite simple. We are “made in God’s image and likeness” (Genesis 1:27). We have the power to choose the right or the wrong. When we reject God’s love, and turn instead to satisfying our selfish desires, sin can lead us to the lowest of all places. This is where Herod was.

We have a choice. We all have a choice. We can run to the Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, and be blessed beyond measure. Or we can wallow in selfishness and darkness, consumed by sin. The choice is ours. Will you, like the Magi, come to Jesus to worship Him. Or will you, like Herod, seek your joy in self worship? Beloved, only Jesus is worthy of worship. Let us be wise as the Magi were wise. Let us come to Jesus. Here is the place of blessing.

May God the Holy Spirit draw you into a close relationship with Jesus. Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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