Prophets

For those who are sensitive to the voice of the Spirit of God, no day is just another day.
Every day holds some hidden delight to be enjoyed, some enrichment of the soul available to anyone who really watches and listens.

In the Temple
Two ancient servants of God were allowed living quarters somewhere within the Temple courts. They had earned these accommodations through faithful living and a singular focus on Messiah.

  • Simeon had a promise from God that with his own eyes he would see Messiah. Every day he surveilled the Temple court where babies were dedicated. As his years piled up, his expectation also grew. Any day might be the day!
  • Anna, a widow of some 84 years and a prophetess, lived in the Temple courts as well. She was renowned for her spirituality, fasting and praying continually for Messiah to come. She too, watched the place of dedication every day know that one day He would come.

It is inevitable that two such Temple fixtures would have known each other. They must have crossed paths every day, encouraging each other to be faithful in all things. Messiah is near!

The Dedication of Jesus
Eight days after His birth in Bethlehem, Jesus was presented for circumcision and dedication in the Temple. Before they reached the appointed place, Simeon met them and Anna followed at an appropriate distance. The old man took the child from Mary’s arms without the slightest protest from Joseph—he was learning to let God handle things! Joseph and Mary took a step back as Simeon took the Baby Jesus and lifted him toward heaven. Just as Zacharias had done for his son, John. Prophecies began to flow from Simeon.

Simeon’s Song
Regular visitors to the Temple found the old man mildly amusing and he regularly drew a small audience. All the priests and their wives knew of Simeon’s promise. He began this way:

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word”

His audience stopped to listen to the strange old man. Strange old men speaking to the People of God was part of their heritage.

“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.”

A child had never been so tenderly and securely held by an old man as was Jesus that day. Reluctantly Simeon handed Jesus back to Mary. As he did, Simeon prophesied about the ministry of Jesus

“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel,
and for a sign which will be spoken against…”

In midsentence, the Spirit spoke to Simeon about Mary. Her life was not to be an easy one.

“…yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also…”

Anna’s Song
As Simeon handed Jesus back to Mary, Anna began to sing, her thin soprano lifted high above the din of the Temple courts. Her words were not recorded for us except to say that she gave thanks to God and encouraged others to pay attention to this child. Redemption for Israel would be found in Him.

Scriptures:
Luke: 2:21-38

And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb. Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord “), and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 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. 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.” And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, remind me from time to time that the whole story is not right in front of me. You are at work in unseen ways and always to my benefit. Joseph and Mary were simply doing what they were supposed to do and You sent them two surprise messengers to confirm them in their faith in You. Help me watch today for those You send to me. Let me hear Your voice in their words and take the strength and hope I need for today’s obedience. Amen and Amen.

Song:
Run, Run, Run!

Words and Music: Jimmy and Carol Owens from “The Glory of Christmas”

The Spirit stirs within my heart, He whispers in my ear.
He sings at last, at last He’s come. The Christ of God is here.
Run, run, run, run to hold Him in your arms!
To look into salvation’s eyes and kiss God’s baby Son.

O be consoled Jerusalem, your waiting time is done.
God’s glory rests on Israel. The Light of the world has come.
Run, run, run, run to hold Him in your arms!
To look into salvation’s eyes and kiss God’s baby Son.

Within a tiny frame of flesh all strength and wisdom lie.
The mighty host and lovers of God who bow before Him cry:
Run, run, run, run to hold Him in your arms!
To look into salvation’s eyes and kiss God’s baby Son.

Come see the Sun of Righteousness with healing in His wings.
The One whose birth joined heaven and earth as Prophet, Priest and King.
Run, run, run, run to hold Him in your arms!
To look into salvation’s eyes and kiss God’s baby Son.

<em>Semper Reformanda!</em>
<em>Stephen Phifer</em>
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<em> © 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved</em>

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