CrossReads Weekly Devotional: Wisdom and Stars 1/1/2024

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by Precarious Yates

After Jesus was born, He was paid a visit from some very interesting bible characters. Who were these “Magi” or wise men from the east? 

East of ancient Israel is where Babylon was located. This is where Daniel and his friends were taken when they were exiled from Jerusalem during the first invasion of Jerusalem in 605BC. The final invasion of Jerusalem and the destruction of the first temple took place in 586BC, so this took place almost 20 years earlier.  

Daniel and his friends were unique among their peers. They were members of the royal court while they were still in Jerusalem, and they had learned quite a bit while in Jerusalem. God Himself gifted these young men in knowledge and understanding. They knew Jewish history, customs, the Torah with all its stories and requirements, and about how to have a relationship with the Lord for themselves. They were very young at the time that they were taken into exile, perhaps 13-15 years old.  

Not only were these young men strong, healthy, and handsome, they were also incredibly intelligent. While in exile, these young men were given instruction in all the literature and customs of the Chaldean, or Babylonian people. 

Here’s a modern day equivalent we see so often: we train up our children and then we send them off to college, where they learn about all kinds of things that are contrary to the ways of God. This can be frightening! Can we trust that our children will continue to follow the Lord when they are immersed in the environments that are so prevalent on college campuses these days? Will the world around them have more of an impact on them than they will on others? 

We see in the story of Daniel that God gifts these young men with the ability to have impact on those surrounding them. All four of these men remain true to their faith, that God never let go of them, and they never let go of God. 

And these men had a big impact on the world around them. We see evidence of these in the book of Daniel. But we also see evidence of this in the beginning of Matthew’s gospel.  

There were wise men from the East searching for one who would be born the King of the Jews. How would they know to look for this? Could it be that the teachings from 550 years beforehand, from four men of Hebrew descent who were famous in Babylon for their wisdom and understanding, had passed down from generation to generation until three of them noticed a star? And they attributed this star to the Jewish people. That is no coincidence. 

Wait—why is it a star that indicates to these men that the King of the Jews would be born? 

Aren’t Jewish people supposed to be against sorcery, astrology, and that kind of thing? 

The Jewish people do have a system of astrology, and that can actually be found in the scriptures! Job 38 has some very interesting insights about this: 

“Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
    Can you loosen Orion’s belt?
32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
    or lead out the Bear with its cubs?
33 Do you know the laws of the heavens? 

The Hebrew word for “constellations” is Mazzaroth. Let’s look at these verses in the KJV, because these give interesting insights: 

Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? 

32 Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? 

33 Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? 

God is letting Job know insights about how to interpret the seasons and God’s plans from the stars. 

Most of astrology around the world, and most of modern astrology when you open the newspaper, tell people about personal futures and fortunes. The Mazzaroth, Hebrew astrology, tells us about God’s plan in history and God’s Son, Jesus, the King of kings. 

These magi from the east would have known about this aspect of astrology.  

Psalm 19 gives a secret about this as well: 

The heavens declare the glory of God; 

    the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 

2 Day after day they pour forth speech; 

    night after night they reveal knowledge. 

3 They have no speech, they use no words; 

    no sound is heard from them. 

4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, 

    their words to the ends of the world. 

The stars, the constellations, tell us about Jesus! These magi were privy to Hebraic knowledge not only about stars, but also about YHWH Elohim Elyon, The Lord God Most High, and they used their wisdom and understanding to seek out God’s purposes. 

They had enough of a relationship with YHWH that they knew when He was speaking to them in dreams. Remember how Daniel was given understanding of dreams? This teaching passed down from generation to generation and impacted these magi. They knew God would speak to them through dreams, and heeded the instruction that God gave to them. When you are passing down knowledge from generation to generation, it does have an impact and it can change everything for your family. 

These Magi brought gifts with them for the King. They didn’t come empty handed. They brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

These three gifts are prophetic on so many levels. 

Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King. 

The Myrrh is a bitter fragrance. Myrrh is for the prophet, who often suffers more than most. Jesus is the Prophet that the people of Israel had been waiting for. Myrrh is also a picture of the suffering that Jesus would undertake on the cross. Myrrh was used as an embalming ointment. 

Frankincense is one of the key ingredients in the anointing oil used by priests. It’s also the key ingredient of the incense used by priests during prayers. Jesus is our High Priest. He ever lives to make intercession for us! 

Frankincense and myrrh are costly oils. Only the rich could afford them. Mary and Joseph were not exactly rich. In fact, Jesus was born in abject poverty. But in Jesus are hidden all the riches of wisdom and understanding. 

The third gift that was brought was gold. This speaks of Jesus’ kingship. The magi were acknowledging that Jesus is King. This is who they had been teaching about for generations—the one they had been waiting for since they learned that the Jews were waiting for a messiah. Daniel deposited quite the seed of knowledge and expectation when he lived in Babylon. 

One of the most interesting aspects of the story of Daniel is that he didn’t heap hatred upon the Babylonians. He maintained his own beliefs in the Lord, which are grounded in lovingkindness and compassion toward others. This may have been why his teachings lasted for generations, leading to the magi seeking the newborn King in Bethlehem. 

When we love the Lord and love those around us, we have more of an impact than we can fathom, an impact that lasts for generations. 

God, who is love, has rooted and grounded us in love in His compassion and His wisdom. People in this age may or may not speak about the great deeds of love that we do in the name of Christ, but I guarantee you that if we put your trust in the Lord, He will declare our name, in other words our reputation and our deeds, to the angels. He promises to do this in His word. What a kind God we serve—He considers even a cup of cold water in His name to be worthy of great reward! 

May God bless you as you pour out your love on Him in this new year and it impacts generations. 




The captives will only be free when Shunda loses his fears about who he is. Yet what Shunda fears more than anything is loneliness.

The Captives


Qoshonni figures she has become too violent and will never come back from the brink that the MerKing has pushed her to. 

Mookori knows his father loves him best, but this has no consolation as war invades the shores of his father’s kingdom. 

The Heart of the Caveat Whale is an epic trilogy that takes place both under water and on land. Book 1, The Captives, in the beginning of a journey into joy and terror. Sea monsters abound, as does the valor of both simple folk and nobles alike. 

About the Author:

Precarious YatesPrecarious Yates has lived in 8 different states of the Union and 3 different countries, but currently lives in Texas with her husband, her daughter and their big dogs. When she’s not writing, she enjoys music, teaching, playing on jungle gyms, praying and reading. She holds a Masters in the art of making tea and coffee and a PhD in Slinky® disentangling.


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