2:38 [Anna] talked about the child to everyone who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem. Yesterday Simeon was also waiting expectantly for "Messiah to come and rescue Israel." From what I have studied (I have mentioned this but we'll refresh again), Israel always believed their Messiah would come and rescue them from "Edom." Throughout the OT, God promised a rescuer from Edom. If you remember, Edom was comprised of descendants from Esau, and actually both Edom and Esau mean, "red." They were notorious enemies of Israel, and according to Wiki:
According to Wiki, during the time of Nebuchadnezzar II the Edomites helped plunder Jerusalem and slaughter the Jews. For this reason the Prophets denounced Edom violently. Later in Jewish history, the Roman Empire came to be identified with Edom, and specifically the remnants of Amalek.
Isn't that interesting...became associated with the Roman Empire. The Edomites' religion developed out of the pagan gods, probably Baal, and Asherah among them, and probably, according to some views, were primary roots of Islam. Islam was birthed in the pagan Arabian desert among the descendants of Esau and Ishmael from the cult of the moon-god of war ("Al-llah") in the 3-4th century. Probably during the same time, Rome was influenced by many of the pagan practices of Edom, which is why they have filtered down to us through the centuries, particularly those of Asherah (all part of Ashtoreth, Ishtar, and Tammuz).
Borrowing from January 11: Here's a little known fact. Herod, the ruler who tried to kill Jesus when he had all the young boys killed in Israel was an Edomite!
So remember that while Israel awaited a physical rescuer from Edom as promised, they didn't realize that it was the spiritual Edom that Jesus as King rescued them from first-the strongholds of Satan and separation from God. That's why they rejected Jesus, He did not save them from their physical enemies and establish his physical Kingdom on earth. Most importantly, He established His spiritual dominion over all creation, and will set up His physical Kingdom at His second coming.
We see this theme echoed even in today's Psalm, vs. 8-9, 12 "Edom will be my slave. But who will bring me into the fortified city? Who will bring me victory over Edom? With God's help we will do mighty things, for He will trample down our foes."
Questions for reflection:
Sort of random, based on our lesson: What a beautiful example Anna set for us today. Now that we are the Temple, we, like Anna, are called to, "Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere (Ephesians 6:18)." Do you struggle with staying in prayer at all times? If so, why is this? I think prayer is my weakest discipline. Perhaps Anna knew something about a deep prayer life that we don't. Perhaps it is very exciting and very satisfying when a person "breaks through" into a realm of prayer through diligence and faithfulness.
Whenever I think of prayer, I am always
reminded of "Papa." Papa, who has started over 20,000 churches by
training missionaries and church planters throughout India, despite
heavy persecution and intense poverty, recently told me on my trip to
India, "My only regret in my life is that I do not pray enough. I get
busy. If only I had prayed more, even more work could have been done."
Papa prays more than anyone I know. At least a couple hours a day, and
sometimes six! And yet, that is his greatest regret.