I love this story. I make no apologies for including it in these daily inspirations. Simeon has got to be one of my favourite characters in the Bible. He only appears in this one episode, but what a cameo! A lifetime of faithfully walking in God’s ways crystallised in this one moment.
I don’t know if you’ve ever got up one morning with an idea that there was something you absolutely had to do. Or perhaps you pass someone in the street and know you need to talk to them. Or maybe in this season it’s a phone call you’ve got to make. And you discover to your surprise and delight that you called at just the right time, or the person you approached needed help, or that thing you ‘had’ to do was something you would have missed if you’d left it till tomorrow.
If you’ve had that experience, you may well have been ‘moved’ by the Spirit. Our God is a God who speaks. And still speaks today. So we shouldn’t be too surprised to get these ‘urges’ every so often.
But let’s notice that Simeon’s crowning moment is not the first mention of the Spirit in this passage. Simeon’s whole life was infused by the Spirit – the text says simply that the Spirit was ‘on him’ (v25). God can speak to anyone: but it happens a lot more often to those with whom He dwells all the time. The more we allow God to soak our lives, the more these ‘divine promptings’ are likely to happen. Like picking out your family in a crowd, it’s much easier to spot things you’re totally familiar with.
Simeon’s moment was also preceded by a prior revelation. He already knew that he would see the Messiah one day. One of the gifts of the Spirit is the gift of prophecy – the capacity to see what God is up to. And Simeon clearly had this gift: and he believed what God had told him.
So when he got the ‘nudge’ one day that he had to go to the temple, his lifetime of spiritual soaking and seeing led him to one simple act of obedience which changed the world.
You’re never too old to be used by God. That would be a fine summary of Simeon’s story. Or to put it another way: if you’re used to walking with God – such that the Spirit is ‘on’ you too – some days you get to notice a significant step that you’re being asked to take. What might that be at the moment? We might feel like the most unlikely people to be ‘moved’ by God – so it’s just as well that it’s not up to us! Perhaps our great and gracious God still has work for you to do?