Every day we are inundated with advertisements and ideas that persuade, distract, and tempt us. They can create hopes and dreams that shape and influence our lives. But do you ever feel like you might have put your hope in the wrong things? Misguided longings create an investment in desires that cannot be fulfilled or promises that will ultimately let us down. The book of Luke tells us, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (vs. 12:34). It matters to whom we entrust our hearts.
- What competes for your attention, affection, and hope?
READ THE WORD: LUKE 2:22-40 (ESV)
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
29 “Lord, now you are letting your servantdepart in peace,
according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- What traits are used to describe Simeon and Anna?
- What words of Simeon caused Mary and Joseph to marvel? What words of Simeon might have caused concern for Mary?
- Simeon and Anna were the only two people who recognized Christ in the temple. What factor(s) prepared them to accurately see Jesus as Christ?
- Author Don Miller said that if all we want at the end of the day is a Volvo, we are living a boring story. Our lifestyles, expectations, and desires matter greatly. How do your misguided longings obstruct your view and prevent you from seeing Christ clearly?
- What do you long for the most? How do you know when it has been fulfilled?
RESPOND TO GOD
When Jesus was brought into the temple, Simeon and Anna were found longing for the redemption of their land and people and trusting in the promises of God. It was Godly longing and hope that gave them eyes to see the Savior who would bring such healing. To live meaningful lives, we need our hearts to long for things that go beyond the material and move into the promises of God. We are far more broken than we can ever imagine, and it’s only through those promises that we will be healed.
- Spend time telling God about the areas of your life where you long for temporal or material things.
- Ask God to show you how your life could be different if you longed for the things of God more consistently.