Waiting for the Fulfillment of Promises

Do you remember an event that occurred exactly 40 days after Jesus was born? That is when Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple for their purification [Actually, it was for Mary’s purification, being the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ dedication]. The purpose was to fulfill the requirements set forth in Torah. (You can read about the requirements in Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12–15, etc. Interestingly, Luke explicitly points out that Joseph and Mary took the option provided for those who could not afford a Lamb, and sacrificed “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons” (Luke 2:22-24) That is discussed in Leviticus 12:1–4). Then, after the ceremony, Joseph and Mary had a special visitor:

A man named Simeon was in Jerusalem. He lived an honorable and devout life. He was waiting for the one who would comfort Israel. The Holy Spirit was with Simeon and had told him that he wouldn’t die until he had seen the Messiah, whom the Lord would send.

Moved by the Spirit, Simeon went into the temple courtyard. Mary and Joseph were bringing the child Jesus into the courtyard at the same time. They brought him so that they could do for him what Moses’ Teachings required.  Then Simeon took the child in his arms and praised God by saying,

“Now, Lord, you are allowing your servant to leave in peace
    as you promised.
My eyes have seen your salvation,
     which you have prepared for all people to see.
         He is a light that will reveal salvation to the nations
            and bring glory to your people Israel.”

Jesus’ father and mother were amazed at what was said about him.  Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother,

“This child is the reason that many people in Israel will be condemned and many others will be saved. He will be a sign that will expose the thoughts of those who reject him. And a sword will pierce your heart” (Luke 2:25-35)

I have always loved this story as well as the very brief, but significant, description of Simeon! It says that he “lived an honorable and devout life.” What a wonderful testimony. I hope I can earn such a description from the Lord! But it also states that he was waiting for something the Holy Spirit had promised him! Evidently, at some point in his life, we don’t know when it was, the Spirit of God told him that he wouldn’t die until he saw the Messiah! Amazing!

Did he really hear this promise? Was it when he was a young child or when he was a teenager? Or, more likely, when he was much older. We don’t know. However long it took for this promise to be fulfilled, it must have been continually on his mind. I am sure it brought a tremendous amount of hope in his life. Every day, watching the news reports; reading all of the news headlines; watching all of the teachings about it on YouTube! Or, do you think that he simply remained in prayer, knowing that any promise his God made would be answered? Did anyone else receive such a promise? No, we are not told, but it is possible.

Does Yahweh still make such a promise? How is it even possible that He would have such a relationship with Simeon? I mean, what was Simeon doing when the Spirit of God made the promise? It reminds me of when Yahweh visited Abraham and told him about His plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. I realize that He wasn’t really making a promise, He was simply telling Abe what He was going to do. Yet, Abe was able to talk Him down to saving the towns if they could find at least one person worth saving! The significant point is that Abe’s relationship with Yahweh was such that the Lord felt free to share the information with him.

Now, I have only met one other brother (but I am sure there must be others) who has received, like Simeon, promises that we would not die without seeing the return of our Lord! For almost four decades we have waited patiently, even joyfully, for Jesus to come. And, yes, we are expectant, as well. Yet, we are very much aware of the rules governing signstimes and seasons.

We do not freak out at every scary event we see on Fox News, nor do we fear that we will die at any moment. But we also understand that we have an enemy who hates us (as he does any disciple of Jesus), but also that life is filled with various events and crises. Throughout history, you see evidence of our enemy working to thwart any promises Yahweh has made. But through it all, God’s promises are never delayed or blocked from being fulfilled!

I also find it interesting, that the Spirit of God was able to direct Simeon when and where to go so he could see the fulfillment of the promise he was given. What if he hadn’t listened to the instructions? What if he was too busy to go to Jerusalem? What if he had blown off the whole thing? Obviously, he would have been forced to continue looking for the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise, not knowing that it already occurred. Or, maybe, he would have grown weary and decided that he didn’t really hear that promise, believing it was all an illusion or a silly dream!

What about us? Has the Lord given you a promise? Are you believing for Him to answer a prayer? How long are you willing to wait? Are there limits? Are you willing to “hang in there” until He fulfills His promise or answers your prayer?

We are beginning a new year and we have no idea what the year will bring, or do we? Has the Lord spoken to you about the new year? If He has, you need to ask if He will allow you to share it, then, with whom you could share it. When He shares His confidences with you, be respectful and honor His trust in you.

Doulos Studies

(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)

I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.

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