Waiting for God: Certain, Receptive, Responsive

Waiting for God. In Hebrew this means intertwining your life with His.Simeon is waiting to die.

But he’s certain death is delayed until he sees a 700 year old promise fulfilled—God’s promise of personal divine intervention.

Simeon has a cameo appearance in the final scene of Luke’s Christmas narrative. The story ends right back where it began a year and a half ago, in the temple where Zechariah encountered the angel.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to (waiting for) the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah (or Christ). Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple.
Luke 2:25-27

A young family arrives at the same time as Simeon. Mary and Joseph return to the sacred space 40 days after Jesus’ birth for the dedication of their firstborn son and Mary’s purification ritual.

When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, 'Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord.') Luke 2:22-23Mary has heard prophesies about Jesus from the angel Gabriel, her cousin Elizabeth, the shepherds and kings from the East. She and Joseph hear a final prediction from our prophet Simeon who recognizes the infant in Mary’s arms as the long awaited Messiah.

When the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.’ Luke 2:27-32

As Simeon rests in peace, let’s admire three qualities that prepared him for his role in God’s unfolding plan.

1. Simeon waits with certainty in God’s promises

The Holy Spirit has revealed that Simeon will see the Messiah before death. He waits expectantly, especially as he ages. And you can be sure he’s telling everyone the consolation is coming. His Jewish friends think he’s crazy to anchor his hope to a promise passed down through 40 generations. But Simeon is certain that God fulfills His promises.

2. Simeon listens receptively

Simeon is attuned to the Holy Spirit, keenly aware of its guidance in his daily life. He not only hears the Spirit assure him that the Messiah will come within his lifetime, Simeon believes it. Seeking the Messiah becomes his life’s goal.

And Simeon recognizes the Spirit’s nudge toward the Temple. It lacks detail but Simeon’s familiarity with God’s guiding voice infuses trust.

3. Simeon responds obediently

We don’t know his occupation, but Simeon has plans for the day—a coffee date, chores, prayer. Yet without explanation, he allows God to redirect his routine.

Simeon responds immediately to a vague hunch, unaware of God choreographing his presence in the temple when Mary and Joseph arrive. Unlike the young parents, Simeon enters the temple without a purpose. He wanders, guided by an internal tug.

The enormity of Herod’s Temple complex, covering 36 acres, adds to the miraculous nature of Simeon’s rendezvous with Mary and Joseph. Their convergence highlights Simeon’s connection to the Spirit and his willingness to follow. (It’s also what I call a God-incidence.)

If Simeon had ignored the cue or delayed his response, God’s purpose would prevail, but Simeon may have missed the moment.

Simeon waits, his life intertwined with God

Simeon’s life captures the Hebrew concept of waiting which means to be intertwined.

“It’s like a 3-legged race; you tie up with your partner. You tie your legs together and then you have to get in sync with one another… In Hebrew you get in sync with God and he ties up with you. You feel when he pauses, and you pause. You feel when he runs, and you run. And it’s those who intertwine, who wait, who tie their life up with God’s, they renew their strength.”
– Adam Hamilton, author, pastor at Resurrection, Leawood, KS

Waiting is not passive; it’s a dynamic, cooperative dance with the divine. Being certain, receptive, and responding in obedience binds us closely to God’s purposes.

For reflection:

  • Which of God’s promises do you hold with certainty, even when circumstances challenge your faith?
  • How attentive are you to the Holy Spirit’s nudges in your life?
  • What habits can you establish to cultivate a more discerning ear and responsive heart?
  • Will you say ‘yes’ to God, even when it interrupts your plans?

If you don’t know what God has promised, these are helpful when you feel weary.
I also love to write about God-incidences, times when there’s evidence of God’s guiding hand. God guided me to a grieving woman, a man who had fallen, and a concert section.

#seedsofscripture #readthebiblebetter #guidedbygod #godsvoice #Spiritguided #Luke2 #adamhamilton

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