Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.
When Luke mentions that Anna lived in the temple for 84 years (or until age 84 and after she was widowed, depending on the translation), it sounds rather dull and uneventful to our Western ears. We tend to think church when we hear the word ‘temple’.
Historically speaking, Jerusalem, though its name includes the word ‘peace’ hasn’t had a lot of time free from strife. That was just as true during Anna’s temple years.
When she took up residence in the temple, the independent Hasmonean Kingdom ruled Judah. They tried to maintain a free Jewish kingdom. This began to crumble when two brothers both wanted the throne and asked for Rome’s support. This request for intervention made them a relatively free province—but tied to Rome somewhat.
They continued this way for a couple of leaders until Herod the Great captured Jerusalem in 37 BC. As an Edomite and not a Jew, he wanted to give the impression of a peaceful kingdom even through his way of operating was generally to kill anyone in his way. To improve public opinion, he ordered the rebuilding of the temple in order to make it the most opulent center of worship (and a tribute to him) that he could.
So while Anna resided in the temple, political turmoil, skirmishes and intrigue made Jerusalem an interesting place to live. But inside the temple, she had to endure workmen and construction for many of those years!
So much for a quiet and stress-free life.
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas