“Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.” – Luke 2:25-26
400 years of silence. It’s hard to even comprehend, but 400 years ago:
- Galileo proved that planets orbit around the sun.
- Manhattan was purchased by the Dutch for $24.
- The Taj Mahal was built in India.
As hard as it is for us to comprehend 400 years, the Bible tells us this is how long God’s people waited to hear Him speak. You see, at the end of the Old Testament, God spoke through the prophet Malachi – and then nothing. God went silent. 400 years of silence. It’s hard to imagine such a long time, but for the people who had seen God’s miracles first-hand, 400 years must have felt like an eternity. And the longer God was silent the worse things got. It certainly seemed as though God had forgotten both His people and His promises.
Can you relate? When God goes silent, it doesn’t take long until we assume God must have forgotten about us. Suddenly, we begin to take matters into our own hands – walking away from God in the process. But, God is always at work in our waiting. Waiting reminds us who is ultimately in control and prepares us for what’s next.
This is where we find Simeon in Luke 2. Simeon was a great man of faith. Having suffered the oppression of God’s people, He heard over and over again how God had abandoned them, forgotten them. As a result, he had watched many fall away in hopelessness and despair. Simeon, however, faithfully clung to the promises of God, believing that God would come through in the end. And ultimately, God did! Imagine his joy to be one of the first people to hold the Messiah in his arms, experiencing first-hand the promise of God revealed!
Are you in the midst of a season of waiting? Maybe it has been a very long and incredibly frustrating few months or years. You feel as though God has forgotten you; you’re beginning to doubt. Don’t lose hope – God is at work in the waiting. Even during the most challenging seasons, God wants to point us to Jesus. Jesus, the only one who can perfectly and completely fulfill the deepest longings of our hearts.
If you’re seeking hope – look to Jesus. Comfort – look to Jesus. If you’re feeling unfulfilled and dissatisfied – look to Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate hope and joy even when the wait feels like 400 years. Through Jesus, the wait is over as our souls find rest in the promise of God fulfilled!
Adapted from a sermon by Senior Pastor George Wright, Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, S.C.