God was silent, or so it seemed.
The age of His prophets walking amid His people had long passed, or so it seemed. The tales of the patriarchs, along with the narrative of Moses leading the children of Israel into freedom, were all that the current generation had left. These stories evoked more wistful sighs than stirrings of hope and faith, for the Jewish nation once again found itself in servitude to cruel taskmasters. The more devout did their best to follow the Ancient Torah given to them from God as well as the Judaic laws passed down from their ancestors. But if the truth were to be told, most had little hope that Yahweh would once again speak to His people. The promises spoken by a living and active God seemed distant and unattainable.
God was silent, or so it seemed and so many of His people went their own way, having grown impatient.
And yet, there was a remnant who stayed true. They did not just keep the Law; they kept the faith. They lived with an active expectation that God would fulfil His promises. God proved Himself as the rewarder of those who remain faithful.
Luke 2:25-38 tells the story of Joseph and Mary travelling to the temple with the newborn Jesus to offer the traditional Jewish thanks offering for their firstborn son. Two dear elderly saints had been waiting a long time for this day. They didn’t know the time or the hour but they knew they would see the Messiah. God had not been so silent after all, he was still speaking to those with ears that would listen.
Although it might appear God is silent, He speaks to those who wait in quiet expectation. Still your rushing mind so you can hear His heart.
The Holy Spirit rested upon Simeon and drew His trusted servant to the temple that day and at that specific time. Longing and promises merged into one bundle of inexplicable joy as Simeon held Jesus, the realization of his heart’s desire.
What was going through Simeon’s mind as he gazed at the baby in his arms? “If only my old friends had lived to see this day, this child is the fulfilment of all our hopes! This is the day for which we contended. This is the day for which we kept our hearts aflame. I see with my eyes that which the faithful before me could only see by faith.”
Anna, an elderly prophetess, spent decades in prayer and fasting within the temple, anticipating this great day. Her heart could not contain her joy as she rushed over to Simon. Her eyes were fixed on one thing, the baby in Simon’s arms. She could not keep silent! Anna praised her God for His redemption, but only those with ears to hear took heed that day. From the sounds of it, Anna continued to tell the story of the fulfilment of prophecy for a long time afterwards.
Galatians 4:4-7 – “When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
I can only imagine the cheers that rose in Heaven on the day of Jesus’ dedication. The great crowd of witnesses looked down upon the babe in Simeon’s arms. At last! They saw the prize for which they had all contended during their sojourn on Earth.
Hebrews 11:39-12:2 – “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect. Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith.”
Heaven was no longer silent as the cries of the great crowd of witnesses joined in Anna’s song of praise. For their eyes finally beheld the promise fulfilled.
Isaiah 9:6 – “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace”
As we prepare to celebrate the miraculous incarnation of Christ, let’s grasp onto the same hope that kept the flame alive in the faithful ones so long ago. May we hold on to to the personal promises God spoke to us with the same tenacity as those two old saints in the temple. Let’s contend for the salvation of our loved ones, the return of our prodigals, the resurrection of our marriages, the healing of our bodies, and the restoration of our nations. Even if our grasp becomes weak, and our eyes become dim, let’s hold on. We know that He who began a good work will complete it to the very end. (Philippians 1:6) We will not miss our blessing as long as we keep our faith and remain faithful to the hope instilled within us. God is not silent nor stone-faced, his face is toward us.
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From November 2020 forward, all Bible verses attributed to the NASB version unless otherwise indicated. Prior to this date, ESV was the common attribution.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden