One-hundred and sixty-one days. It’s the number of days from when my husband proposed to the day we got married! Though it seemed like an eternity, every day was a day that I counted down to June 30th. Plans were furiously made in the beginning with lavender dresses to be altered, chocolate-covered strawberries to be dipped, and mason jars with burlap ribbons to be tied. By the end of those seemingly long five months, I was through with making plans and counting down. I just wanted it to be our wedding day, so I could marry that man!
Once a man proposes to the woman he chooses to marry, a season of waiting and expectation usually follows. In the Old Testament, there was a long season of waiting and looking forward to God’s promise of the Messiah, one who would deliver the Hebrew people. God does not immediately fulfill this promise but sends His Messiah at the exact time of His planning. Shortly after we read of the birth of Christ, we find just a few verses in Luke 2:25-38 about a woman named Anna and a man named Simeon. Both are Hebrews awaiting the promised Messiah. We can learn from them how to worship God in our waiting and the importance of testifying that God fulfills His promises.
They Worshipped God While Awaiting His Promise
None of us enjoy waiting. Whether it’s waiting in line, waiting at a stop light, or waiting four long years to finish high school, sometimes waiting seems unnecessary or just plain difficult. We know from this passage that Simeon and Anna were “looking forward to Israel’s consolation” (verse 25). This promised Messiah who would come would be their savior and deliverer from sin and unrighteousness. He would be their hope for all eternity and their forever High Priest. He would be their sacrificial lamb and their source of victory over sin and death. Can you imagine waiting for such a great promise?
Simeon and Anna believed God for this incredible promise, but that promise was made hundreds of years before it was fulfilled. It would’ve been easy to lose hope, but instead of doubtful living, they were found worshipping God in the midst of their waiting. Both Simeon and Anna were already at the temple when Jesus was brought there by His parents just a week after His birth. It says that Anna, “did not leave the temple, serving God night and day with fasting and prayers.” They were both focused on God and diligent to serve Him day in and day out. Isaiah 26:8 says, “Walking in your ways, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.” And that is exactly what we see in Simeon and Anna; that they were walking in the ways of the Lord while they waited for Him. Could that be said of you? Are you known for your impatience or restlessness in the season or place you’re in? Or are you faithful to walk in the Lord’s ways though you don’t understand His timing?
They Testified that Jesus Was God’s Fulfilled Promise
In verse 30 Simeon says, “my eyes have seen your salvation” and in verse 38 it says that Anna “spoke about Him to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Israel”. Not only were they diligent to worship Him in their waiting, but they were quick to recognize and testify that God had truly given what He promised so long ago. Anna and Simeon declared confidently and immediately that this baby Jesus who was born was the very promise of the Father in the flesh. When something so incredible changes your life, you want others to celebrate with you! After the countdown was finally over and my wedding day had arrived and gone by, do you think I wanted to keep it a secret? Of course not! My life had changed forever, and I wanted everyone to know! I smile when I see “JUST MARRIED” written on the back of someone’s vehicle, because I know the feeling of wanting the rest of the world to celebrate with you and what has happened. Our hearts desire should be for others to know that Jesus is God’s greatest promise fulfilled to us.
Friend, we can be confident that our God always fulfills His promises. This baby Jesus who was born, long before you and I were, is God’s promise to us. He is our sacrificial lamb, our hope for all eternity, our victory over sin and death, and our High Priest who reconciles us with the one true God. When we celebrate the birth of Christ, we are celebrating that our God is one who always stays true to His Word. If you find yourself in a season of waiting, know that He is worthy of your wholehearted worship for this season of your life. Be diligent to walk in obedience to Him and His ways so that you are able to testify that He always fulfills His promises!
Lord, I praise You that You are a God who fulfills Your promises. Thank You for Your mercy toward us in sending Jesus to deliver us from sin and death! You alone are worthy of worship no matter what season I am in. I pray that You would open my mouth to testify about Your gift to us through Christ!
“Jesus Messiah” by Chris Tomlin