Holding On to the Promise
He was righteous and devout and eagerly
waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel.
When Jesus was forty days old, it was time for Mary and Joseph to take Him to the temple to present Him to the Lord as is required by the law of Moses (Ex 13:1-2). On the day Jesus was to be there, the Holy Spirit led a man named Simeon to go to the temple as well. What do we know about Simeon? He was a righteous and devout man, the Spirit had revealed to him that he would see the Messiah before he died, and now he was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel (Lk 2:25-26).
Simeon was holding on to the promise, but when he entered the temple that day, he had no idea what was about to happen. All he knew was he was supposed to be there. No one was forcing him to go. He had a choice. What if he had decided he would go later? What if he was in the middle of something he thought was more important, so he ignored the Spirit's leading? We know he could have done either of these things because we have probably done them ourselves.
It is human nature to think our plans are most important. We want God to work around our schedules. We aren't always open to His interruptions. Even if we know in our minds we should be open to the Spirit, and we desire to follow God, in the moment, we often live as if our plans are what matter most. Often, we miss the Spirit altogether because we aren't living with the awareness that He is with us and may speak at any moment.
But we have all had those times when we did listen and were blown away with what God did. So why is it so hard to live with this kind of awareness of the Spirit? Because we have a human nature. And as believers, we live in a battle. The enemy has done his homework. He knows us well, and he will do whatever he can to take us down. We all have weaknesses that the devil wants to exploit. Yours may be different from mine, but Satan takes every opportunity to use our weaknesses to lead us to sin or ignore God. There is no temptation that is uncommon to man (1 Cor 10:13). The enemy uses the world's system to draw us in...the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn 2:16). But God has not left us helpless. He has given us the Holy Spirit (1 Jn 4:13). He has given us His Word (2 Tim 3:16; Heb 4:12), and God has given us means to communicate with Him through prayer (Heb 4:16). These are all weapons we have to fight the devil with and succeed. In addition, we have truth, righteousness, the gospel, salvation, and faith (Eph 6:10-18).
Fortunately, Simeon did listen to the Holy Spirit. He was committed to his faith. When Jesus was being presented to the Lord that day, Simeon was there. He took the baby in his arms, and he knew at that moment that Jesus was the Promised One. He praised God saying,
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss
your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people, as light
for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory to your people Israel.
Simeon was ready. His righteousness and commitment to God set him up to listen to the Spirit when He spoke. His faith in the promise given had not wavered. Has God given you a promise you are still waiting on? Continue to hang on to it. Don't let the world or the enemy derail your faith. Don't let the fact that you've been waiting a long time cause you to falter. And don't let your plans keep you from being open to God's interruptions. You don't want to miss whatever exciting thing He has planned when He leads you to do something you weren't expecting to do. And you don't want to be too busy on the day He leads you to go to the place that lets you see the fulfillment of the promise He gave you.