There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to Israel’s consolation [Messiah’s coming], and the Holy Spirit was on him.
When I’m tempted to condemn myself for not being devout or righteous enough, I am relieved to remember Simeon was old. He was an old man with a lot of practice in looking for the Messiah—decades of practice and years spent in God’s presence. It gives me something to look forward to, that possibly someday one of my children or grandchildren will describe me like Simeon. It will surely be after I’m really old.
We get caught in the thought that the Holy Spirit came on the scene at Pentecost. We attribute that moment like His incarnation—his manger. The truth is, He’s been around and is as prevalent in the story of God in our history since we first read about Him in Genesis. He’s been active; we’ve seen Him move throughout the Old Testament. Now in the coming of the long-sought Messiah, He gives someone ready to see it the eyes to be a witness.
The Holy Spirit has come to help us understand God’s thoughts and desires. He always brings us back around to Jesus because Christ is the image of the invisible God we need the help to see. Who better to help us but God Himself? He isn’t just a messenger, but the very anointing oil that opens our spiritual senses to the presence of God in our midst.
Simeon made a life of looking. He was a witness—a seeker. He was ready and willing to connect with God, which is why I believe the Holy Spirit was so unmistakable to Him. The more we practice something, the better we get at it, similar to muscle memory in sports. Simeon’s spiritual muscles were so strong, he could recognize when the Holy Spirit was telling him something. Because of that pursuit of a relationship with God in the Holy Spirit, Simeon was rewarded for his faithfulness: laying eyes on the precious Savior who would bring about the reconciliation of heaven and earth.
My middle daughter has often asked me how to know the difference between her own voice, the voice of the enemy, and the voice of God. I’ve told her simply that the Holy Spirit only speaks good things. We might not always understand them at the time, but His words are loving and peaceful, even when He is correcting us. He shows us, in living color, what the promises are in His Word. That is simple, but sometimes simple is best. God is love, so that is what He speaks and what He brings to us.
For our part in this, we must have expectant hearts and open eyes, like Simeon. The more we look, seek, and track the work of what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives, the more we see it. The Holy Spirit doesn’t play hide-and-seek. Jesus didn’t give Himself in pieces, and neither does the Holy Spirit. He is out there in plain sight. We, like Simeon, have to practice looking for Him. He wants us to be excited about seeing how He is bringing the full picture of God into view—by the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and how that applies here and now.
Come, Holy Spirit, and open my heart. I want my sense of You to be as strong as my seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling. Lord, work through me to prepare me to see Your work of consolation in this world. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Reflect on a time when the Lord, like Simeon, gave you eyes to see His promises.
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