WISE MEN SEEKING JESUS, a poem by James T. East (1860-1937)
“Wise men seeking Jesus traveled from afar,
Guided in their journey by a wondrous star.
But if we desire Him, He is close at hand,
For our native country is our holy land.
Prayerful souls may find Him by our quiet lakes,
Meet Him on our hillsides when the dawning breaks.
In our fertile wheat fields where the sheaves are bound,
In our busy markets Jesus may be found.
Fishermen talk with Him by the deep blue sea
As the first disciples did by Galilee.
Every peaceful village in our land might be
Made by Jesus’ Presence like sweet Bethany.
He is more near us if we love Him well,
For He seeketh ever in our hearts to dwell.
No, this is not the Christmas season. You probably thought I should have added the word, “Him”, to the end of the title to this article. “Him”, of course, referring to our LORD and Savior, Jesus the Messiah. It used to be common in the weeks leading up to the Christmas season that many Christmas cards were sent containing the sentiment, “Wise Men Still Seek Him”. Fewer and fewer Christmas cards are being mailed each year, and fewer still seem to contain those words of wisdom. So I must pose the question: Do “wise” men really still seek “Him”—our LORD and Savior? I wonder. I’m sure that some still do. But what about all the rest?
The dictionary defines the word wise as discerning and judging soundly concerning what is true and false. It also defines the word seek as to go in search of, or to look for. The “Wise Men” of Jesus’ birth and infancy sought “The one that was born King of the Jews”, and when they finally discovered Jesus and his family living in a “house” (probably already back in Nazareth) they gave him gifts which, in God’s Providence, Joseph and Mary surely sold and used the money to live on as they fled for a time to Egypt to escape Herod’s wrath and persecution. These “wise men” were probably early versions of Persian astrologers/astronomers who foolishly believed that the movement and position of the stars and planets influenced what happened on Earth. I’ve always questioned their ultimate wisdom, even after they followed God’s supernatural “star” to the place where Jesus and his family were living, for we are not told in Scripture that they renounced their idolatry after they returned to their own country. Were they truly wise? Who knows?
“Wise people” are supposed to have much wisdom and common sense. Even, in the minds of some, much focused learning. There is a difference, however, between wisdom, which is the ability to judge soundly and deal sagaciously with facts, and intelligence, which most people define as a build up of knowledge over a period of time. “Wise” people are often discovered to be people who display outward intelligence but who often fail to exercise much common sense, and who often lack a ‘humble spirit and a contrite heart’, attributes that God seems to value highly.
Take, for instance, the late Dr. Carl Sagan (1934-1996), a noted astronomer, cosmologist, and author. Back around 1980 he produced a very interesting (in many respects) TV series called Cosmos. I learned a lot from this series about science and history, but scattered through much of Dr. Sagan’s commentary was his antagonism against God and Creationism. Dr. Sagan was a uniformitarian evolutionist of the first magnitude, and one didn’t argue against his positions unless one was thoroughly prepared to counter his arguments. Most people considered him to be very “intelligent”, and in human terms he was. I’ve often heard it said of him that near the end of his life he expressed a desire to believe in the God of the Bible and in the Biblical truths concerning the creation of the universe, but just couldn’t bring himself to do so. Sadly, Dr. Sagan passed into eternity still in his unbelief—still searching, but never finding eternal truth. He was a “wise” man in his life, but never learned true wisdom.
There was another man named Karl Marx (1818-1883), who with his fellow anti-freedom collaborator, Friedrich Engels (1820-1895), set forth their dream (or was it a nightmare?) for a new society in their 1848 book, The Communist Manifesto. Marx based much of his collectivist and anti-Christian philosophy on the earlier writings of the German philosopher, Georg Hegel (1770-1831), another man that many in his time, and even now, considered to be “wise”. Marx accepted the belief that only violent revolution based on the model of the bloody French Revolution of 1789 could change society. He believed in class struggle and especially that the Christian religion was the real enemy of human progress. Marx was described by one of his contemporaries as “a man of great intellectual power, but of almost no control over his emotions, emotions usually bitter and antagonistic toward all those around him and toward society as a whole.” He was reported to be a poor provider for his wife and seven children. Apparently their “needs” weren’t important to this follower of the evil one.
The entire history of at least half of the 19th century and all of the 20th century is filled with the violence, death, destruction, human degradation, and endless and needless suffering caused by the followers of these two “wise” men. Entire nations patterned their societies upon the teachings of Karl Marx, who was then, and still is NOW, considered to be one of the “wisest” men who ever lived. An unfounded story relates that on his death bed, Karl Marx renounced his evil philosophy and became a Christian. I’d like to believe that this was true, but it would defy all reason and would negate his entire life experiences to believe in Marx’s “death bed” conversion. Without any doubt, Marx went out into a Christ-less eternity, where he now suffers the unbeliever’s fate.
It should be quite apparent to those who are not willfully blind that our troubled nation, and indeed the entire world, are controlled by so-called “wise men” who seek after false gods and who increasingly, and more and more openly, ridicule and attack Christianity and the real “Prince of Peace”. These same misguided “wise” people also attack more frequently the Biblical and ancient concept of “the nuclear family”, i.e. one man married to one woman and raising their children TOGETHER. (Isn’t it strange that the two institutions that have contributed the MOST to keep society together for the past two millennia—Christianity and the nuclear family—are being increasingly attacked today here in the U.S.—AND that these two institutions were also strongly attacked by Karl Marx in The Communist Manifesto?)
It is becoming prevalent (but wrong) for those of us who are Christians, the true wise men and women, to become discouraged over the downward spiral of the United States. Our nation appears to be disintegrating around us—freedom and our erstwhile constitutional republic seem to be evaporating faster than rainwater on a hot and muggy day. But cheer up. Even though it sometimes seems that God does not respond to our prayers for our nation, Christians must always remember that GOD IS STILL, AND ALWAYS, IN CONTROL of the affairs of mankind (and womankind). As long as there are remnants of faithful Christians and Christian Patriots determined to fight as long as necessary to preserve our heritage of freedom, we have NOT lost the battle.
Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990), an English writer and observer of the human scene, and a man I’ve come to admire for his willingness to renounce his youthful fascination with communism and socialism, said it well: “There is a chance that our country will find its way again, picking up the threads of its incomparable language and literature, cherishing its lovely countryside, being true to its splendid history and finding a different greatness in the world’s changed circumstance. I may not live to see it, but it will happen.” He was, of course, referring to his native England, but the same can be said of our once God-honoring land, the U.S.A.
Perhaps none of us will live to see our rapidly degenerating country once again the way we would like it to be—the way it was when many of us—and surely our parents and grand parents, grew up. The significant problem of our time in history is that we have departed from our past, have abandoned our heritage (and this is being done with a vengeance to our children and grandchildren in the Marxist/socialist institutions of UNLEARNING called government schools all throughout our land). We must understand that to tamper with the heritage and traditions of a people is to tamper with their very freedom—with their future existence as free people, and not slaves. We, as the inheritors of Western Civilization, with all of its accomplishments and foibles, must understand that these values are worthy of preserving and, if necessary, improving. WE need to be the “wise men” of today who still seek HIM, and help others do the same—who still honor what our Founders sacrificed and died to bequeath to us, and if necessary, do the SAME!