Simeon, an often overlooked Christmas character, exhibits the trust in God, patience in his promises, and dependence upon his spirit to see a promise through.
Simeon was invested in his people. He longed for their deliverance and waited and watched for it. This required hope. His hope was not misplaced in a man, a circumstance, or a particular scenario, rather, it was placed in God from whom the consolation would come.
Luke 2:25 says, “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel,…”
He waited, and waited and waited. His answer may have come differently than he had expected, for it came in the form of a baby, but he had been watching for it and knew the answer when it came. When we wait with full expectancy, we can expect our deliverance to come. What’s more, we can trust that we will recognize it when it does come. Sometimes I fear that if I had lived during the time of Christ that I would not have recognized who he was. But that is part of trusting God, we also trust that we will have the faith to believe what he reveals to us. We must wait expectantly and believe for the revelation to receive it when it comes.
In Luke 2:26, Scripture tells us, “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.” By the time Jesus comes to the Temple, Simeon was an old man. Who knows how much younger he was when this revelation came to him. Like Abraham, he trusted God. If God said he would see the Messiah, then it was so, and he trusted the Lord to bring about the circumstances necessary to make it so. So often, it is difficult to walk that line. We are told to work as though everything depends on us, but pray as though everything depends on God. I agree with this sentiment, except that sometimes we can get weary in the waiting and frustration sets in. The temptation can even be to say, “God, I’ve done my part, when are going to get around to doing yours?” Simeon quietly waited and trusted that what God said he would do, he would do so in his time.
In just a few short verses regarding Simeon, scripture tells us three times about his encounters with the Holy Spirit.
“…and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…” Luke 2:25b-28a
Simeon allowed the Holy Spirit to work in his life. The Spirit of God was on him and revealed a specific purpose for his life. He then allowed the Spirit to move him so that he was in the right place at the right time. Simeon was submitted to the Holy Spirit.
How does that look today? I think it can be far less difficult than we might imagine. It can start with a dedication of each day to God. Give him permission to interrupt and change your plans. Meditate on and believe that God truly does “make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:6) Believe that you are being led even when you don’t know that you are being led. Trust that God is guiding you to be in the right place at the right time so that he can fulfill his destiny in you. He has promised that he planned works for you to do before you were even born. Trust that he is guiding you to that place.
Simeon is a good example of someone who was entrusted with a great promise: that he would see the Messiah before he died. He was a good keeper of the promise by watching and waiting for the answer with great hope and expectancy. He allowed the Holy Spirit to guide and control his steps so that the promise could be fulfilled. We can learn much from his example as we wait on the promises and revealed purposes God has given for our lives.