During this holiday season I challenged myself to read the Christmas story as if I were reading it for the first time. All the likely characters stood out; Mary, Joseph, the Wisemen. But as I continued to read, another character stood out, King Herod the Great. The more I studied him the more I saw myself. I noticed
my his mistakes were characteristic of someone who feared the unknown and the inevitability of change. I took note and determined to commit to the following 4 steps to conquer the unknown and inevitability of the New Year. (These are my notes to myself.)
1. Seek God Regarding Your Next Best Move (even if it’s to be still)
King Herod was not a Jew. He was of Arabian descent, but his father, Antipater, was said to have converted to Judaism. Therefore it can be assumed that King Herod knew the tenants of the Jewish faith. When he heard the promised Messiah had been born, his first move should have been to seek the God of his father. He, instead, panics and resorts to desperate measures.
Seeking God can be hard because it requires a willingness to either change direction or continue on the same path you’re on. As daunting as either directive can be, there’s nothing better than knowing what God wants you to do. Because without knowing what God wants, there can be no doing. What is God calling you to do in 2017?
2. Get Advice From A Trusted Person To Help You Achieve #1
When King Herod heard about Wisemen looking for the new born King he sought them out to learn more. Instead of learning who this new King was and what His mission would be, he questioned the Wisemen about the star that guided them to Jerusalem. King Herod neglected the opportunity to gain understanding and simply confirmed the bias already devised in his heart.
No wonder Proverbs says ‘In a multitude of counsel there is safety.’ Asking for help is not a sign of weakness rather a requirement to gain strength. Oprah credits Maya Angelou. Mark Zuckerberg credits Steve Jobs. Quincy Jones credits Ray Charles. We weren’t created to live in a vacuum, but in community for the purpose of becoming more than what we are. Who is God leading you to glean from in 2017?
3. When In Doubt Avoid Rash Decisions
In his rage, King Herod sent out a decree to kill all the baby boys in and around Bethlehem, ages 2 and under (which corresponded to the time the Wisemen said they first saw the star.) What King Herod did not know was an angel of the Lord was sent to Joseph and Mary to warn them of the attack. They escaped the massacre by fleeing to Egypt and stayed there until King Herod’s death.
Irrational decisions usually result in worse circumstances than the circumstances that drove them. Feelings are hurt. Relationship are severed. What could have been solved through prayer and fasting now requires mediation and damage control. Although this step is probably the hardest to commit to, it is the most critical, because it can deter you from your destiny. What filters will you use to make decisions in 2017?
4. Expect The Impossible
King Herod was jealous of someone he had no knowledge of. His expectations were too small. He assumed he would be overthrown and replaced by someone like himself. But, lucky for us, God is not like man. He sent his son to bring peace not political uprising. He sent Jesus to redeem the lost not to resurrect the Jewish military. He sent Him to be more than King of the Jews. He sent Him to be Lord of all!
God wouldn’t be God if we understood all He is and all He will do. He gives us dreams, desire, and visions, but there is no way for us to see clearly what he has in store for us. This is what makes being a Christ follower the best adventure ever! Can you believe God for the impossible in 2017?
King Herod wasn’t the only one mistaken, many of the Jews also had faulty expectations. John the Baptist even asked if there was another one coming or if Jesus was the One. So if you find yourself failing at any of the aforementioned steps, simply dust yourself off and try again. There is nothing in 2017 that will catch God by surprise. He’s aware of every situation and it’s already handled. Rest assure…you’re ready.
Supplementary Reading: Matthew 2