From the beginning these little daily devotionals have sought to dwell on Christ alone. Many have been on trust and love.. on hope and peace, and on patient endurance. Many has been on right thinking, right attitudes, right expectations, a right focus.. the need to take heed of scripture day by day, lest we slip and fall – preparing ourselves for His soon return and our spiritual growth. Many have been on our position in Christ rather than the circumstances of life; looking away from the world and looking to the Lord Jesus Christ. Living by faith which comes from hearing and not by sight or signs or dreams – putting off the old man in Adam and putting on the new man in Christ – recognising our heavenly home is a greater reality that this sin-sick, cursed world. Many such writings have been on waiting – waiting God’s time and waiting God’s way.
Today, I look back to a specific man – a man who exemplified and lived a life of trust. A man who waited God’s time. We read the following in Luke 2:26 and it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. It is a truly fearful thing for anyone to see death before seeing Christ Jesus. Death is a fearful thing. It is the portal that will usher everyone into God’s presence. But for aged Simeon, death was no future, fretful fear for he had a promise.. that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”. Luke 2:22-26
His eyes were illuminated by Christ – before death seized its prey. He was to see the Consolation of Israel.. the Saviour of mankind. And from the moment he received the Spirit illumined pledge to see the Anointed – Simeon knew. Simeon had hope in his heart that his promised pledge would come to pass. By faith, Simeon knew that he would not see death, until….. His future held no fear and each day that passed he must have thought, ‘is it today…?’
Few have received such an astonishing promise, but those who did receive such a pledge, had to accept it, unquestioningly by faith.. by faith. Enoch was translated that he should not see death Hebrews 11:5. Elijah also knew, from the Spirit, that his transport awaited him – by faith. And he was able, through the Spirit’s leading to grant his young disciples request.. for Elijah said: “if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so.” 2 Kings 2:10 your request shall be answered. By faith Enoch, Elijah, Simeon believed the promise and lived in expectant waiting. Enoch waited his translation. Elijah waited his transport and Simeon waited to see the Lord’s Christ. Enoch waited over 400 years and Simeon waited for the rest of his life. Their promise was given, accepted, believed and they waited – they waited in humble anticipation.
Were these men discouraged as time passed? Did the passing of time raise questions as to, when Lord? When? None of these men sat twiddling thumbs as they waited for the promised blessing. Scripture reveals they were men of God, who knew God and who believed His Word. The Bible indicates that they were all men of prayer; men of praise; men of faith. Above all, it shows they were men who waited on God, and waited His timing.
Many Christians believe the Lord’s return is very close.. even at the very door. Many have expected His return based on calculations designed by their own imaginings. Many sought answers in many places, through many teachings with many tears. Many have set dates in the coming year – or in a future year yet to be identified. Many have simply changed their mind or altered their eschatological thinking. Many have become discouraged – bemoaning that: the Lord delays His coming.
But it is we, not the Lord, that cry and bemoan such delays.. for God has promised: for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. The Lord has indeed ‘tarried’ as men consider tarrying. He’s tarried for 2000 years.. and yes– it is hard to wait… it is very hard to wait. Yet the writer to the Hebrews tells us plainly: for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Hebrews 10:37
If scripture contradicts itself in this point, then it cannot be trusted in any point. The overall message from Genesis to Revelation it that God takes His time.. which may seem an eternity to His creatures, but it is all part of His eternal plan. God takes His time for a purpose – not as a cruel trick or a mean manipulation. God is not tarrying in the way that He considers tarrying, for God has a purpose. The Lord is not slack or slow: “for yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Hebrews 10:37
Throughout Scripture, we see that God has His appointed times and He will not fail. So why this apparent contradiction? Why does He seem to be tarrying in this increasingly evil world? Well – what of that beloved pig-headed, prodigal son or that lovely lost daughter? What of that precious parent or that dearly loved, lost friend… that nasty neighbour? What of the healing, correcting, maturing work He is carrying out in your life? And what of the healing and correcting and maturing He is doing in mine? “Could ye not watch with Me.. could ye not intercede with me on their behalf one brief span?”
I believe, with all my heart that in the fullness of time we will understand why the Bridegroom ‘tarried’… for we know that all things work together for good to those that love God. All things – even things we don’t understand and the things that grieve us: all things; ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to US-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
The hosts of God encamp around the dwellings of the just,
deliverance he affords to ALL who on His succour trust.
O make but trial of His love
experience will decide how blest are they,
and only they who in His truth confide.
Fear him, ye saints, and you will then have nothing else to fear;
make you His service your delight; your wants shall be His care.
22 And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord;
23 (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
25 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
26 And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
3 O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together.
4 I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
21 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.
16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.
17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.
19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;
20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.
21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.
23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.
24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.
26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.
27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.