Monday, January 13, 2014


"The Visions of Isaiah" 1851-1860
by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Isaiah 49:1-13

TO CHEW ON: "Indeed He says, 'It is too small a thing that you should be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel. I will give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.'" Isaiah 49:6

Simeon awoke this day with one pressing impression: He must go to the temple. Exactly why he wasn't sure, he just knew it was important.

At the temple courtyard he surveyed the scene. All was as usual—people clustered around the perimeter booths of animal sellers and money changers transacting business, in the centre the customary milling around as people led just-purchased sheep and goats to the sacrifice area while temple workers scurried about their business.

A young couple caught his attention. The man was inspecting the turtle doves just purchased for sacrifice while the woman quieted an infant. Something stirred in Simeon.

As he waited for them to return to the courtyard from the sacrifice area, he let his mind caress the promise that had kept the will to live in him even after all his friends had passed on: "You will not see death before you have seen the Lord's Christ." Would it be today?

The reappearance of the young family broke his reverie. He studied the protective man, the young woman with the baby. The Baby! His heart leaped and his whole body tingled like a harp string vibrating in sympathy with a divine note, and he knew. This Baby was the one!

Simeon found himself before the couple, reaching for the baby, taking Him in his arms and from the storehouse of memorized Scripture, words spilled out: "...For my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel."*

Look at all the promises wrapped into this story:
  • Simeon was reciting the promise given to Isaiah hundreds of years before (our reading today).
  • This day it spilled from his lips in inspiration as he realized the fulfillment of the Holy Spirit's promise to him.
  • It is a promise that flows down to us Gentiles today. Because Baby Jesus became our Salvation. By coming to His light, we are grafted into His family.

Have you put yourself in this lineage of promises made and kept?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your marvelous plan, braided through history in incidents like this. Thank You that through Jesus, salvation is available for everyone on earth. Amen.

MORE: Personal promises

Before I was married or even dating my now-husband, God knew my deep desire to have a family. I remember the day at a singles retreat in Saskatchewan (Arlington Beach) where I was outdoors sitting under a tree having my quiet time when God gave me this promise from Psalm 128:6: "Yes, may you see your children's children." I claimed it as a promise that I would someday marry, have a family and even grandchildren.

I was reminded of that promise nearly six years ago, when I held my first grandbaby in my arms.

What personal promises has God given you? Have any of them come to pass? Are you hanging onto the unfulfilled ones like Simeon hung onto the promise that he would see God's salvation?

*My fictionalized version of Luke 2:25-35

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