*This poem was originally published in the December 1970 issue.
The Quest (Matt. 2:1-11)
With glowing light the dawn doth break
O’er yonder hills; And in its wake
Majestically the sun doth rise
Casting its rays o’er land and skies.
The city stirs from slumber deep Jerusalem rouses, wakes from sleep
And soon the tread of busy feet
Are hastening on, in every street.
The cry of vendors everywhere
Sound loud and shrill on the morning air.
The busy marts are opened wide
And shoppers throng on every side.
The Roman soldiers tread their pace
To keep their watch o’er the Hebrew race
From tower and portal they closely guard
The royal city, with power of sword.
And on the throne sits Esau’s son
Herod, the vile, the crafty one,
He rules with pride o’er Israel’s race,
Contemptuous scorn upon his face.
And in yon temple, shining bright
‘Neath eastern sky, in sun’s pure light
Sit learned Pharisee and scribe
And haughty priest, from Levi’s tribe.
Clad in long robes and garments fair
They spend much time in lengthy prayer.
They love the greeting in the mart
And crave men’s honor, from the heart.
Upon this scene did come one day
A caravan from far away.
Their trappings rich were wrought with gold
A splendor glorious to behold.
They came from eastern land afar
Compelled by God, led by a star.
These learned men and lustrious sages
Had studied long from history’s pages.
The heavens and all its starry frame
Proclaimed aloud God’s glorious name
But of God’s Gracious Saving Love
They did not read in the heavens above.
Nay! History’s pages did declare
Of all His tender love and care
His mighty power and glorious worth
Was lauded far throughout the earth.
A compassionate God His people saves
While they are laboring as slaves
With mighty power He overthrows
A wicked Pharaoh and all their foes.
With cloudy pillar He led by day
His people safely on the way
And with a fiery pillar of light
He led them through the darkest night.
Sihon, the Amorite king they slew
And Og, the king of Bashan, too
Jordan’s waters stood as a wall
And Jericho’s walls did crumble and fall.
Thus they were led to the promised land
In infinite love, by God’s own hand.
For God is not a man; He repenteth not.
And it was said of Israel; what hath God wrought?
Yea! When the enemy endeavored to curse
God caused the enchanter to utter this verse
In Jacob I behold not iniquity
Nor perverseness in Israel I see.
In exultation they shall sing
For among them is the shout of a King
Yea! A star in Jacob shall appear
And a scepter rule both far and near.
And now, the Magi have come to bring
Homage to Israel’s newborn King.
For God mysteriously did impart
Salvation’s message to their heart.
They quest from busy passers-by
Where is He born? Thy King most high?
In eastern sky we have seen His star
And have come to worship and adore.
But! All Jerusalem is troubled at their quest
And Herod is shaken, and sore distressed.
He urgently demands from chief priest and scribe
Where must Christ be born! Of royal tribe?
And they answered and said unto him
In the land of Judea, in Bethlehem.
For thus it was written of David’s town
Thou art Bethlehem Judah of great renown.
Thou art not least, for from thee shall come forth
A might Governor by glorious worth.
He shall rule o’er my people Israel
As long ago the prophets did foretell.
Then Herod bade the wisemen come
To commune in private, in his home.
Diligently he enquired about the Star
What time it appeared in land afar.
Then craftily saying, “God search for Him
In the land of Judea in Bethlehem
And when ye have found Him, let me know
That I may come and worship also.”
The wise men are puzzled and sad at heart
When they from the palace did depart.
Jerusalem’s indifference seems strange indeed
Why has hope faded for the promised seed?
The shadows have fallen, night is at hand
Sending darkness and gloom o’er all the land
The day is now spend; their quest unfulfilled
Their thoughts are confused; their voices are stilled.
When lo! The Star of the east so bright
Shedding its rays of wondrous light
Doth go before them, leading them on
To where the child was; The promised One.
Their joy is unbounded. Their faith is restored
Their hearts leap up in praise to the Lord
They hasten their step, till they come to the place
Where they had been led by the God of all grace.
They entered and saw the young little child
And Mary His mother, so meek and so mild.
They bowed down before Him and worshipped Him there
Presenting their gifts so rich and so rare.
Gold and frankincense and myrrh
Precious treasures from bounteous store
With humble hearts they have come to adore
The King of Kings; Who reigns evermore.
O! Gentile Christian, do you understand?
These noble men from far off land
Were your substitutes of worth
Representing you at Jesus’ birth.
They are the first fruits of the Gentile world
God’s gospel banner stands unfurled
He elects from all nations, peoples and race
Choosing as His own, in boundless grace.
Come kneel down before Him and worship Him now
In holy adoration, in lowliness bow
To Jesus our Saviour, our Lord and our King
In grateful acclaim His praises sing.