Sunday, September 28, 2008

Street Level Devotions, God Honors Those Who Wait

Luke 3: 25-35
At this time a man named Simeon was living in Jerusalem. Simeon was a good man. He loved God and was waiting for God to save the people of Israel. God's Spirit came to him and told him that he would not die until he had seen Christ the Lord.

When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to do what the Law of Moses says should be done for a new baby, the Spirit told Simeon to go into the temple. Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God,

"Lord, I am your servant, and now I can die in peace, because you have kept your promise to me.

With my own eyes I have seen what you have done to save your people, and foreign nations will also see this.

Your mighty power is a light for all nations, and it will bring honor to your people Israel."

Jesus' parents were surprised at what Simeon had said. Then he blessed them and told Mary, "This child of yours will cause many people in Israel to fall and others to stand. The child will be like a warning sign. Many people will reject him, and you, Mary, will suffer as though you had been stabbed by a dagger. But all this will show what people are really thinking."

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is the story of Simeon. Here is this old man who had wanted to see God’s son, the Savior of the world, called the Messiah to come to earth for many years. I can’t help but think of how easy it would be for him to think he would never see God’s son. While he had faith in God and the promise God made to him, he had to wait for a long time to see that promise come into being.

We don’t rally have any proof that Simeon was anything other than a regular guy, who worshiped God and wanted to see the savior of the world whom had been taught about in many of the ancient religious books and religious meetings of the time. He was always there though, always at the steps of the teaching places that were much like early churches.

Can you imagine waiting all of those years for something special? I know many can because some have waited for a husband, a wife, a child, a good job, better pay, or the list can go on and on. Yet, here was Simeon waiting for a person he knew was going to provide salvation for the world. Did he expect a king? Was he waiting for a grown man? How would he know who the messiah was if he ever did see him?

Simeon had a faith and a relationship with God that is worth observing. He simply knew that God would make things clear to him if he ever did get to see Jesus. He had a great relationship with God, had prayed, and heard from God that he would eventually see Jesus. This tells us something about this mans relationship with God. We will never know about the things God has promised us if we don’t read the Bible and talk to him. Of course, a part of talking to God is learning to listen to God.

Simeon believed that God would do what he said. So many times we read what is in the Bible, see what God has promised but then go on and act like he doesn’t mean what he said. While we may sometimes take things wrong, it should encourage us to read study and try to understand what God promises. If what we are thinking doesn’t work the way we think it should, it is likely we are thinking the wrong thing; we have to be willing to change our opinions at times. God will keep his word for us, just like he did Simeon.

God honored his promise to Simeon; he will honor his promises to us. In those promises, we have to accept the good with the bad. We should be willing to express our gratitude not just for the big things we see God do, but also the little things. Of course God gave Simeon a big thing, and he was patient for many years. Hopefully we will be patient to experience the good things God has for us.

Thought for the day: God will give us his promises when it is best for us to receive them. Thankfully He is in control and knows not only what I need, but when I need it.

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