Day 58: Born to Cause Strife
Micah 7:6 Surely a son considers his father a fool,
a daughter opposes her mother,
and a daughter-in-law is against her mother-in-law;
a man’s enemies are the men of his own household.
Isaiah 6:9-10 And He replied: Go! Say to these people:
Keep listening, but do not understand;
keep looking, but do not perceive.
Dull the minds of these people;
deafen their ears and blind their eyes;
otherwise they might see with their eyes
and hear with their ears,
understand with their minds,
turn back, and be healed. (HCSB)
Generally when someone approaches a new mother and asks to hold the baby, he or she will coo over the child and give some good wishes or pray a blessing over the infant.
That isn’t what Simeon did.
In fact he gave three pieces of bad news. 1) The child will cause the fall of many in Israel. 2) The child will become a sign that many oppose. 3) Something about the child will cause pain to Mary.
The first two are dealt with in the prophecies above. God said that many who thought they knew him were actually blind and deaf to his purposes. And that when Jesus would go among them, how people reacted to him would divide families.
In fact, Jesus quotes the Micah passage right after he said that he did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
That sword is the word of God that divides men’s hearts.
Day 59, The Call to the Nations
Isaiah 49:6- 9 He says,
“It is not enough for you to be My Servant
raising up the tribes of Jacob
and restoring the protected ones of Israel.
I will also make you a light for the nations,
to be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
This is what the Lord,
the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, says
to one who is despised,
to one abhorred by people,
to a servant of rulers:
“Kings will see and stand up,
and princes will bow down,
because of the Lord, who is faithful,
the Holy One of Israel—and He has chosen you.”
This is what the Lord says:
I will answer you in a time of favor,
and I will help you in the day of salvation.
I will keep you, and I will appoint you
to be a covenant for the people,
to restore the land,
to make them possess the desolate inheritances,
saying to the prisoners: Come out,
and to those who are in darkness: Show yourselves.
They will feed along the pathways,
and their pastures will be on all the barren heights. (HCSB)
This is just one long passage out of many in the Old Testament. I had to choose which one I wanted to give this message.
I have mentioned it before, Simeon would not have courted any favors with the religious hierarchy of his day by stressing that the Messiah was for all peoples—even Gentiles. That just wasn’t what they were hoping for or expecting.
But even though Jesus went to his people first, he did not ignore those of other cultures. As a child, the wise men came to acknowledge him as king. That was the first sign that he had come for all. He witnessed to a Samaritan woman and her village. He healed the daughter of a Canaanite woman. He healed a group of lepers that included a Samaritan. As he taught he also reminded the leaders that the prophets of old also went outside Israel to reach lovers of God.
Still, Israel’s first. Out of Israel, God raised his son.
Day 60, The Man Simeon
I have enjoyed walking with Simeon even though I have had a few health hiccups during these days. He is a noble man who longed so much to see the Christ that he looked for his first coming. He studied the signs. He knew the Scriptures. And he listened to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. May that be said of us too as we look towards his second coming!
A Prayer to Abba
Daddy, you who shine above the cherubim,
You are one and your name is You.
Come quickly into our daily lives
And flood them with the desires you cherish.
Send us your spirit to fulfill your aims,
And the words to lift prayers
That angels echo on high.
Thank you that you meet the needs of each moment.
Help us to keep our hungers in the present!
Pardon our mistakes--intentional and unintentional--
For they are enormous;
And help us to pass on your forgiveness to those that hurt us.
Daddy, keep our focus on you so that our errors decrease,
And lead us toward your holiness.
Put up road barriers to stop us when we drift into evil’s path.
For our Daddy is the only holy one.
Our Creator is the only one worthy of worship.
Our King is the only one who will rule the eternal kingdom.
Forever and ever, so be it!
A Sixty-Day Countdown to Christmas