Simeon was known to be a righteous and devout man, but many had undoubtedly misunderstood his pious lifestyle. He always seemed to be waiting for something, but no one knew exactly what it was.
Lately, his uneasy fidgeting had made others uncomfortable. How many times had his well-meaning friends exhorted him, “Calm down, Simeon!”?
Simeon’s Song of Praise by Dutch artist Aert de Gelder (Art from Wikimedia)
But he couldn’t calm down. His heart had been stirred in unspeakable ways when the rabbi had read the words of the prophet Haggai.
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty.
‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty. ‘The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the Lord Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (Haggai 2:6-9 NIV)
In a similar way, everyone had a hard time relating to poor Anna. “How long has that old lady been here in the temple?” they would ask. “I heard someone say she’s been here for 60 years!”
To some it seemed like such a waste, but a few others were provoked by her remarkable focus in prayer, fasting and worship. And there were others—those who, like Anna, had an unexplainable longing that had been getting inexplicably stronger.
Anna spent her life in worship and prayer, awaiting the Messiah (Luke 2)
One day they were all magnetically drawn to the temple, and it was to be a day unlike all the other days. Invisible invitations brought them together for a holy convocation.
The air was suddenly electric, and Simeon could feel it. Anna’s worship reached a surprising crescendo. Eyes of a select few began to dart around the courts. Haggai’s words began to echo in their minds. Everyone’s desire was about to be brought into Zerubbabel’s temple just like it had been promised.
Just then a normal-looking man named Joseph walked in carrying two pigeons. Behind him was a young woman carrying an infant to his dedication. Any other time they might have walked across the courtyard unnoticed, but not that day. That day eyes were fixed on them and the precious cargo they carried.
Simeon and Anna converged on the unsuspecting couple, and in a moment their lives of waiting made sense. Promises had become reality. Desires were fulfilled.
The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple by James Tissot (Art from Wikimedia)
Regarding Haggai 2:7, Charles Spurgeon commented:
“Oh! If the world could gather up all her right desire; if she could condense in one cry all her wild wishes; if all true lovers of mankind could condense their theories and extract the true wine of wisdom from them; it would just come to this, we want an Incarnate God, and you have got the Incarnate God! Oh! nations, but ye know it not! Ye, in the dark, are groping after him, and know not that he is there.”
Can you believe with me today that Jesus Christ is, in fact, what the nations of the earth truly desire—who they truly desire? Is he the One you truly desire?
As we celebrate Christmas and the birth of our incarnate God, let’s look to Jesus as the source of shaking that brings clarity to our desires. We allow too many things to clutter our path to Him. Our affections are spread too thin on lesser things.
We allow things to clutter the path to knowing God (Photo: Derek Bruff / Flickr)
Would you join with me as we enter into the New Year, and let’s make a sacred dedication of our lives. Let’s invite Jesus to shake us all in order to remove the things that clutter our way to him. He wants to remove the obstacles that keep us from realizing now he is actually the One we desire.
At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:26-29 NIV)
Not long from now Jesus Christ will return and all eyes will see him. Once and for all, he will be revealed as the ultimate fulfillment of global desire—regardless of culture or creed.
Jesus Saves (Photo: Thomas Hawk / Flickr)
From the same place Simeon and Anna once witnessed his humble entrance into the world, he will bring peace to the nations. Those who realize this now have the great privilege of taking this message to the nations in order to spread the fires of desire.
A prayer of personal dedication:
“Lord Jesus, I invite you to shake what needs to be shaken in me for this New Year. Let your consuming fire of desire for me ignite my desire for you in return. I want to know and say with confidence that you are truly the desire of the nations.
Lord, help me to grow in this confidence out of a place of personal knowledge that you are the fairest among ten thousand. There is no other name given to men by which we must be saved. There is no one else in heaven or on earth or under the earth who is worthy.
You alone, Jesus, are my desire. Amen.”