There will always be a remnant.
Susan and I have to schedule our phone chats because we tend to be so long-winded. We don’t call one another very often, so when we do sit down for a scheduled phone call, our so-called short chats end up lasting two hours! The time always flies, becoming the richest part of my day.
After Christmas and all decorations had been put back up in the attic, Susan texted, “Is this a good time?” I grabbed a notebook, pen and my cup of tea before responding, “Call me. I’m ready!”
“I can’t believe your church even has ten Christmas Eve services!” I exclaimed early in our conversation. “We began this year the weekend before Christmas, so I’m counting the two Saturday services and the three Sunday services then all the services on Tuesday, Christmas Eve. ”I could feel her excitement and sensed her smile coming through the airwaves. But, ten services??? What dedication!
“I don’t have any family to speak of, as you know, so my family are my church, so I had no problem being up there that often. Food for the hungry soul. I had more fun! Each service brought different people and a whole set of needs with it. Good times!” I was so grateful she had a vibrant ministry/purpose at her beloved church.
What was even more amazing was that both of our pastors, living two states away, preached on Anna and Simeon who were there at the Temple performing their assigned rituals, even in the midst of the corrupt money-changers! Described in the Word, as righteous before God, they were committed, dedicated, and consistent in their walk with Jehovah God. They stayed true to Jehovah in obedience and trust in Him.
The time that Anna and Simeon lived was considered the four hundred years of silence. God closed His mouth to the nation Israel because they would not listen to him through the prophets. However, the world was being prepared for carrying the Gospel to the far ends of the earth, as the Romans expanded their Empire by designing state-of-the-art road systems their armies and trade routes could easily navigate, as they brought communities under their rule. God’s omniscient hand was over all that went on those four hundred years, so that when He brought His Son into the world, the world was ready to hear about Him.
Yet, in that long period of silence for the Israelites, there was a remnant of faithful followers whom God allowed to witness the fulfillment of prophecy that He would provide a Savior such as Simeon and Anna. How cool that they never lost hope! In fact, according to Scripture, Simeon served his Jehovah God enthusiastically!
“He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come!”
His excitment sounded like Susan! Oh, how glad she was to be serving her Lord through greeting at her church! And her zeal was contagious!
Look at what happened the day Mary and Joseph brought their eight day old son into the temple to be presented before God:
“At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, and many others to rise. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.” Luke 2:25-38. NLT
As my friend and I chatted on about Anna and Simeon, we thought of other devout souls at that time. We came up with a short list – Zacharias, Mary and Joseph, and Joseph of Arimethea. We are so sure there were other Jewish people who devoutly stayed true to the teachings of Jehovah, longing for the promised Messiah, or even a sign from God.
As we pondered this story in the Bible, I told Susan I was now calling her “Anna!” She laughed.
What does their testimony say to us today?
In the midst of all the bad news, the corruption in the world; death, anger, unrest, and even misbehavior in some of our churches, God sees a remnant; the faithful, committed, and obedient.
Stay the course, dear reader, to the One who loves you more. This year, continue to seek His Truth found in the Bible; continue to ask questions; stay in fellowship with other Believers who love Him; and tell others of the great things He has done in your life!
Lord Jesus, may my eyes stay on You. May I be one of whom you say is devout, committed to the task set before me, and obedient to Your Word, even in the midst of the corruption going on around me. May I ever be found faithful. Thank you for rescuing my soul from the evil in this world. In Your name, Amen.