Devotionals Tragedy!

Guided by the Spirit

God has His people all over the world … in fact, in every town and city you will find godly people who love and follow Jesus. In our relocating from South Africa to South Carolina in the USA, I have been surprised at how many people here, not only love the Lord but are of the same persuasion, reformed and evangelical, as I am. In particular there are two gentlemen, older than me by a few years who have received us well and want to serve the Lord by loving and accepting us amongst the people of God. As we come to the next section in Luke chapter 2 and meet up with Simeon, I think of these two men. Do you have older believers who love the Lord and want to be there for you?

Lk 2:25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27Moved 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 was a resident of Jerusalem and a true Jew …

(1) He was righteous and devout. By this we will understand him to be a godly man, following the Scriptures as best as possible and living according to the Law of Moses. “Righteous” here implies he was well behaved towards all people, accepting all as created by God and the Jews as being distinctively God’s own. “Devout” here implies him being careful about his religious duties. We do not know whether he was a retired priest. Considering his access to the temple it seems he might have been a priest, now living in some shape of retirement, studying the Word of God and spending much time in prayer. As a follower of the Lord Jesus, do you and do I behave in a Gospel manner towards all people because we are careful to fulfil God’s Word in our lives as best we can?

(2) He was waiting for the “Consolation of Israel”. This phrase must be understood as waiting for the “promised, coming Messiah”. In other words, He awaited God’s Incarnation to arrive … as the promised Savior. Interestingly, the Greek for “consolation” is “paraklesis” which Jesus used when talking about sending another “Counselor”:

Jn 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth.

The Spirit of Truth is the Comforter, which “paraklesis” means. In Simeon’s case he was waiting for the One who would bring comfort to the spiritually troubled Israel. Being an intentional believer in Messiah, faithful in the Word and prayer … faithful in Biblical morality … faithful in holding God dear to his heart … the Holy Spirit was upon Him. That is in him and with him to the point of guidance! For us, Messiah has come and so has the Comforter (Counselor) He promised. There are two questions that pop up here.

(i) For the Spirit to be upon or within you, you need to be Born Again. You need to be spiritually alive. A spiritual resurrection from the spiritual dead needs to have taken place. This is only possible for those who earnestly, sincerely and genuinely believe that Jesus is the only Messiah God will and has sent and that his sacrificial blood offering was for all who believe in the reason for His substitutional offering to take away their sin, appease the anger of God and divert His wrath from them … leading to confessing their sins, which includes the inherit sinful nature and through repentance, commit to following the Lord Jesus in full Gospel Surrender. The Spirit gives such repentant people new life through redeeming their souls, making them alive to God and the things of God. Have you been Born Again?

(ii) For you to be Born Again, the Spirit commands your attention by giving you a conscience that is sensitive to the workings of God. These working are your use of the Bible, Prayer, the Church, Fellowship, Evangelism and seeking to live a repentant life style. The Holy Spirit will work in your conscience, nudging you gently to pursue holiness and at times jolting you when you are rebellious. He purpose is to conform you to the likeness of the Lord Jesus. This take a lifetime … only to be completed when being ushered through the doorway of physical death into the wonderful Paradise of God. Do you have a conscience that is sensitive to the working of the Holy Spirit in your life?

Simeon was such a man.

(3) He was a man of God guided by the Spirit of God. On three occasions the Spirit is mentioned in three verses

Lk 2:25 the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.

He was sensitive to the Spirit, who gave him extra-ordinary insight into the things of God because he was alive to God through his meditation on Scripture; his observance in prayer and his obedience to Biblical morality. Notice two matters here …

(a) The Spirit revealed to him that he would live to see the God’s (the LORD’s) Messiah. It is true that the spiritual people of the day lived in anticipation of Messiahs coming … but to Simeon the Spirit confirmed it would be in his lifetime. He longed for this prophecy to be fulfilled and he waited in “bated breath”.

(b) The Spirit moved him … to go to the temple courts because Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus were there for their required religious rituals. Perhaps not seen easily, but certainly identified through the passage, Simeon was a man close to God because he lived in total obedience to God.

Let’s stop awhile and look into our hearts today. Maybe we go through all the required Gospel activities daily and weekly … but how much attention do we pay to detail? You read the Bible daily but to what degree are you applying the Word to your daily life? Is it changing outward behavior towards those around you? You pray every day for many things, but are you talking to God? Is there personal intimacy with Him? You know all the morals flowing from the Gospel … are you obeying them? What is the real impact of the sermon I listen to Sunday by Sunday?

Lord, I am weak and weary so often. Much of my devotions are rituals. Change my heart to be sensitive to the Spirit. Amen.

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