Bible Society of South Africa

In step with God: Faith’s rewards - 14 December 2023

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

27Led by the Spirit, Simeon went into the Temple. When the parents brought the child Jesus into the Temple to do for him what the Law required, 28Simeon took the child in his arms and gave thanks to God:

Luke 2:27-28GNBOpen in Bible reader

38That very same hour she arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free.

An amazing thing happened when Anne-Marie Allen was awarded a medal on the eve of her 99th birthday for her role in the Battle of Britain, during the Second World War. She’d been responsible for keeping track of where each pilot was and guiding them safely home – a heart-warming role – which she was modest about, because of her awareness of the many others who also served their country at that time. Nevertheless, she was delighted to be recognised for it – nearly eighty years later!

In some ways, isn’t this rather akin to how God works with his people as he keeps track of each one and guides them home, blessing them in his time?

When we’re in step with him, we become aware of the millions of “little” things, along with the almost unbelievable big things, that he does for us and it’s a joy to know that he has remembered us at these times or has answered a prayer that’s close to our heart.

Luke introduces two people in our verses today who’d faithfully served God all through their long lives. The beautiful working of the Holy Spirit is seen in them as he brings them into the Temple precisely when Joseph and Mary are there with the baby Jesus to fulfil the requirements of the Law.

Simeon was “a good, God-fearing man and was waiting for Israel to be saved. The Holy Spirit was with him…” (Luke 2:25) He had assured him that he would see the promised Messiah before he died and Simeon now had the elation of holding him, as a baby, in his arms, and gave thanks to God in a prophetic song.

Anna, at eighty-four, was a prophetess who “day and night … worshipped God, fasting and praying”. (Luke 2:37) She was clearly also led by the Spirit to arrive there at that time. She, too, thanked God and spoke about the child to all those waiting to see Jerusalem liberated.

These people of faith had waited for the fulfilment of God’s promise of redemption in Jesus all their lives and now received their reward.

Many people quietly live their lives, ably fulfilling their purpose on earth, largely unrecognised by others in the role they play. Unlike the people spoken about today, some may feel forgotten and unappreciated as they get older, but God never forgets them.

Christmas is the joyful reminder that God’s redemption has come through Jesus to bless all people, “A light to reveal (his) will to the Gentiles and bring glory to (his) people Israel.” (Luke 2:32)

Are we waiting for Him to come this Advent? The Spirit will lead us to him if we are.

Prayer: “May the glory of the Lord last forever … I will sing to the Lord all my life; as long as I live I will sing praises to my God. May (you) be pleased with my song, for my gladness comes from (you).” (Psalm 104:31,33,34) Amen

 

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