walk in the word
“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength” Isaiah 40:31
I used to find it hard to get the significance out of the Christmas story because I was always focused on the individual participants: the shepherds, the wise men, Mary, and the others. But I came to understand that really there is nothing significant about any of those common, ordinary people. Their significance is in their proximity to Jesus Christ.
It’s no different today. There’s nothing significant about you or me. We’re not important in any way except as we align ourselves with Jesus Christ the Lord in the building of His kingdom. That is where our joy and fulfillment is found in this life.
For the next few weeks on the broadcast, we’re going to look at the lives of people who were closest to Jesus when He came as a baby. In so doing we hope to experience what they experienced and find the joy that they found in Immanuel, God with us.
Today we’ll meet Simeon in Luke 2:25-26. “Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.”
Simeon’s name means heard, and heard he was. Simeon took hold of a promise from God and said, “I’m not letting go of this until You give to me what You promised.” God loves faith like that.
“This man was righteous and devout.” Now righteous here is not some theoretical thing; this is practical righteousness. Simeon’s life modeled what he professed. His walk matched his talk. His actions pleased God.
Devout deals with attitudes. It means the attitude of heart that gives God His rightful place. He was a worshipper of God. He always thought about the Lord and what would please Him. He lived in an attitude of reverence.
Then notice this: “He was waiting for the consolation of Israel.” In Simeon’s day, people who believed the Word of God were waiting for the Messiah. This Messiah would bring comfort and deliverance to Israel. Simeon was one of those people.
Verse 26 says, “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.” How old do you think Simeon was when he got the promise? 20? 30? 40? If he was ready to die the moment after he got that promise fulfilled, he had to have been waiting a long time. Months? Years? I guarantee you he waited for decades. Sometimes God has us wait that long.
Are you waiting for something? God’s people are always in the waiting room. Here are five top things that God’s children have to wait through—are any of them yours?
#5 Justice. God’s people wait for justice. We serve a God who says, “I am a God of perfect justice.” I don’t know how often you read the paper, but this is a world that is desperately crying out for things to be made right. Most of the time it doesn’t come in this life. But I can assure you this—no one in eternity will say, “How come You forgot about this, God?” Someday every wrong will be righted. Every book will be balanced.
#4 Reconciliation. Some of you know very painfully what I’m talking about. A valuable relationship has been severed or broken. You’ve done everything you can to try to repair it but there is pride and hardness in the other person’s heart. Now you’re waiting on God to fix it.
#3 Marriage. “Lord, who is the person You have for me?” The problem is that after waiting weeks, months, and sometimes years, you’re tempted to compromise. Listen—you don’t want to be married that badly. You don’t want anything other than God’s highest and best—even if you must wait till you’re in your forties, fifties to get married or even if marriage is not in God’s plan for you.
#2 Conception. Month after month, many people feel the heartache of waiting for a baby. Some have been trying for years. With praise to the Lord, our church nursery is filled with babies of couples whom doctors had told could never have their own children. Be patient and wait on God. If that is His will for you, you will receive the gift of a child.
#1 Healing. For some of you the future is not looking as bright as it once did. Do you face surgery or an extended treatment? That is a hard place to be but God is faithful there, too.
I want you to look up some verses on the benefits of waiting on God. According to Isaiah 40:1 when we wait on God, He hears our prayers. Isaiah 64:4 says that when we wait on God, He acts on our behalf.Psalm 25:3 tells us that when we wait on God, He keeps us from shame.Isaiah 40:31 says that He gives strength to those who wait.
The longer I live, the more I come to understand that life doesn’t have a lot of green lights. Hardly ever does God go, “Do you want that? Why didn’t you ask sooner? Have it right now.” More often God is like, “You might think you want it now, but I’m going to give it to you when you’re ready to receive it. I’m going to use the process of waiting and trusting to make you into the woman or man that I want you to be. I want you to wait.”
Simeon waited on God in the power of the Holy Spirit. In his own strength, he never would have made it to that phenomenal moment when he held God’s answer in his arms. Neither will you. That is such an important lesson to learn.
I would speak faith into your life if this is your time to wait on and trust God. God has not equipped His people to wait in their strength, but only in His strength. Only God can enable you to wait on Him.
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