Sunday December 15, 2019
Waiting and Waiting
In the narrative of the birth of Jesus Christ there is a somewhat unknown story about a man named Simeon. All we really know about him is what Luke tells us here. We know that he was a “righteous and devout” man (Lk.2:25) who was waiting for a very specific promise. That’s it. That is all we know about him. He was not famous or special, rich or influential. He was simply an ordinary man with an extraordinary faith in God and the God’s faithfulness to His promise. Though unknown to the world, He was certainly known by the Lord.
And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. (Lk.2:25-26)
The Holy Spirit had told him that he would get to see the Christ before he died. We do not know how long he had been waiting, but most believe it had been years. Can you grasp that? Years. Many of us, I dare say all of us, have been promised something by the Lord that has not yet come to full fruition. Perhaps it was a word whispered to us in a moment of deep hurt…or a declaration given anticipation of a victory….or even a clarion call from the Lord to restore hope.
So, just what did the Bible say about such promises? Well if we look at what the word actually means, we can understand the power of God’s promises. The word promise means, “an announcement, especially a divine assurance of good.” An assurance of good…let that sink in. An assurance. (See WORD WISDOM for a deeper study of good)
They are declarations of His Word in which He has assured us that there is a “good” in our future…a goodness in which He will bestow blessings on His people. It is a declaration of the divine will of God. His promises are meant to give us hope and build our faith.
But we must mindful of the fact that waiting is not passive…it is an aggressive time of action!
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. (2 Peter 1:3-10)
Waiting for the promises of God creates a season in which we can be molded into the very image of Christ’s divine nature…a time when we develop noble and powerful qualities which reflect the nature of God.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor.7:1)
Promises from God are just that…from Him. Every answer comes from Him. But they come through our faith and belief, our trust and perseverance.
For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise (Heb.10:36)
Now we know that every promise from God in Christ is “yes and amen” (2 Cor.1:20). We know that Jesus is the Mediator of a better covenant built on better promises (Heb.8:6). And we know that “not one of His good promises have failed (Josh.23:14). So then why do we struggle with His promises? What is the problem? We are. We get mad, we give up, we doubt, or we complain. Sometimes we even take matters into our own hands (like Abraham) and make a mess of things.
But Simeon did not. Day after day he walked to the Temple, faithfully serving, humbly fulfilling his call, waiting patiently with earnest expectation, full of the Holy Spirit.
So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel. (Lk.2:27-32)
He came each day spiritually prepared to receive his promise. Then one amazing day that promise was literally placed in his hands. He recognized the promised Christ child because he had rehearsed it a thousand times in his mind. He dreamed about it, prayed about it and meditated on it. Then, when the promise arrived, all he could do was praise the God of fulfilled promises! How are we waiting for our promises?