Just got a text from the wife of one of my friends in construction. Like a lot of self-employed, skilled builders, my friend runs his business off the front seat of his pickup and while overseeing a job the other day, someone stole his briefcase, checks, work orders, bids, etc. It’s rough when you become the victim of someone breaking the 8thcommandment. Worse—it’s Christmas time!
When I worked in construction, many of the carpenters turned to “Southern Comfort” when bad things happened and they needed a little consolation. Luke introduces us to a man who turned to something a lot less destructive than Jack Daniels.
“Note this. There was a man in Jerusalem. His name was Simeon. He was a just and godly man, and was waiting for the consolation of Israel. Now the Holy Spirit was upon him.” Luke 2:25
The setting is the Temple in Jerusalem—the place where Mary and Joseph have come with their firstborn Son. They are there to fulfill the Law of Moses after Mary’s period of uncleanness following childbirth (We talked about this in yesterday’s Devo.) If we look back, we remember that Luke has already introduced us to Zechariah and Elizabeth, the father and mother of John the Baptist. They, too, were devoted, godly Jews (Luke. 1:6). Luke is proving to us that what he says about the birth of Jesus is based on the testimony of folks we can count on. Simeon joins Zechariah and Elizabeth as practicing, godly Jews, but Luke tells us that the key to his life is that he is living to see the “Consolation of Israel.”
In the 8thcentury, facing the Assyrian threat, the Jewish prophet Isaiah cried out “Comfort, comfort my people!” (Isaiah 40:1, cf. 49:13; 51:3; 57:18; 61:2). In Simeon’s time, the days of King Herod and Augustus, it looked like God had forgotten his promise. It looked like thieves and murderers would rule, but devout Simeon just kept on trusting. That’s why he was in the Temple when Mary and Joseph and their newborn Son walked in.
LORD, I need the fact that Jesus is the comfort, the consolation you provided not only for Israel, but for us to give my friend support as he tries to piece together the missing puzzle pieces of his business. Thanks that when Jesus, your Consolation, fully institutes his rule, thieves won’t be able to do their destructive thing.
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