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Surely There Is A Future [And A Reward], And Your Hope And Expectation Will Not Be Cut Off

PROVERBS 23:18

There are times when we’ve been waiting on God a long time but have not seen the manifestation of our hope. This proverb is reassurance that indeed there is a reward for waiting, and the thing we hope for will come to pass. God rarely does things on our timetable but if He promised, He will bring it to pass. This takes me to a story of a certain man in Israel who knew what it meant to wait.

During the reign of Caesar Augustus over Israel, there was a temple priest who lived in Jerusalem called Simeon. Like most of the people in Israel at the time, he was oppressed by the Roman occupation. The Romans ruled over the land and cruelly mistreated many of its natives. The people paid tax (to Rome) in their own homeland, did not have a sense of national identity and the soldiers often extorted money from them. It is one thing to be ruled over and oppressed in a foreign land; it is another when it is your own country.

So Simeon did what most of his countrymen did. In his earlier years, he earnestly prayed to God to deliver his nation from the occupation. A long time passed however and nothing happened. Simeon did not lose heart, he kept believing. Still more years passed and he started to grow old. Nevertheless he held on to his faith. It is around this time that he got a visitation from God. With this visitation came a promise: that Simeon would see the Salvation of Israel (who was the Messiah) before the end of his life. Simeon was delighted and continued to wait. However he still grew much older and wondered if he would ever see God’s promise. All that changed however on one ordinary day.

Joseph and his wife Mary brought their baby to the priest for purification according to the custom of the law. And immediately Simeon saw the Child, God revealed to him that his long-awaited prayer had been answered. The Messiah was before him! Simeon said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, ​a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).

It had taken time, Simeon had waited long, he even doubted a bit but, as He always does, God fulfilled His promise.

It is easy to get discouraged when you wait so long. And although God rarely does things in the way or time that we expect, He always fulfills His promises. Think of how many have given up waiting on God when the answer to their prayer was just about to happen! Imagine Simeon had stopped waiting, got angry with God and stayed away from the temple that day. He would have missed the answer to his prayer. So let’s keep waiting and believing God because He is a faithful God.

P.S.
If you wish, you can read more about the answered prayers of Mary, Elisabeth, Zechariah and Israel in my book Christmas In Bethlehem.