He was a man whose existence centered on one thing: seeing the Messiah.
“There was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus…Simeon took him in his arms, and blessed God” (Luke 2:25-28). Simeon then prophesied over Jesus, detailing the startling word that He would be a light of revelation to the Gentiles. Blessing Joseph and Mary, he prophesied to Mary.
Scripture doesn’t tell us Simeon’s vocation or his history. He was perhaps an ordinary guy minding his business. What we know is that he was righteous and devout (the Greek word used here for devout suggests taking hold of something, as well as reverencing God), looking for the consolation of Israel.
Here is the key to Simeon: he was actively looking for something he hadn’t seen. How long had he waited? Decades? A half a century? Likely his entire life. Simeon’s antennae were set permanently to Heaven’s frequency. He didn’t fit in among the culture of the “meandering herd,” whose focus was on bread-winning and gossip and the cares of this life.
How did Simeon end up at the right place at exactly the right time? Scripture says he was “led in the spirit” to the temple. Four hundred years had gone by since Israel had been ravaged as a nation and experienced the captivity of Babylon. There was a famine in the land for the word of God – of Israel’s prophets hearing from Heaven (Amos 8:11). Yet Simeon was part of the remnant in communion with the Almighty.
In the end, Simeon received an unbelievable reward for his steadfast expectation. Simeon got to hold GOD in his arms.
Some of us have been praying for many years for revival. We hear stories coming out of other places about great works God is doing, but we’re wondering where He is in our own region. We’re desperate over a loved one who is living in rebellion, and years have gone by and our prayers continue for their salvation. We wonder if He really hears us. Are we kidding ourselves? Is it worth the effort to keep praying and believing?
Simeon must have faced much mockery – perhaps from acquaintances, but ultimately in his own mind – that God would actually fulfill His promise. “Did God REALLY say…” probably taunted him continuously.
Simeon personifies Hebrews 11:6, which says that “Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for we must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
How will God reward you, overcomer, for remaining righteous and devout, looking for Him with all your heart in spite of time and circumstances?