36 And there was a prophetess, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years and had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayers. 38 At that very moment she came up and began giving thanks to God, and continued to speak of Him to all those who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.
~ Luke 36-38 (NASB) ~
With the Christmas season behind us and a new year begun, I think to myself, what's NEXT? It is a new year to fill with new things. I want to learn more, share more, do more. But where do I even begin?
A few nights ago while spending some time going through my sermon notes from our morning worship I came across a Prophetess. She intrigued me. I have been thinking on Anna in the hours since. How do I make this new year ALL about my Redeemer? Anna made her life about Him, I should desire to do no less!
The scriptures tell us that Anna was married, widowed (for about 84 years) and of great age. But here is where it gets me...in verse 37 in my New King James Study Bible it reads like this....
"...and this woman (Anna) was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fasting and prayers night and day."
Anna never left the presence of her God! She served and served and served Him more with prayers and with fasting! I get a huge lump in my throat reading this. She served her God with a lavish love. She was dedicated, focused, in love and I wonder, what about her faith is different from that of my own. I want to dwell in the temple of the Most High but I often find myself in the pit of fleshly despair just within reach of His out stretched hands. Oh, Anna, what more do you have for us to learn from you?
You see, Anna had been fasting, praying and worshipping while waiting eagerly for her Messiah. When young, sweet Mary and Joseph brought our babe Christ to the Temple, wise Anna caught her first glimpse of Glory made flesh. I envision in my mind tears of joy streaming down her cheeks as Simeon, who had also spent years in eager waiting for the Messiah, spoke prophetic words over the new born King.
"38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
Her eyes had seen Him. I imagine her joy...unspeakable joy. But speak she did!! My friends, she told everyone she knew that was seeking a Redeemer! Her years of fasting and prayer, focus and service brought her to this one moment in time. I wonder if time stood still for her, if she relished in what was before her or if she was so overwhelmed that she just ran to tell of His glory!
This little snip-it of biblical truth is huge in revelation. The faith of Anna was real. Her beliefs were powerful. I am sure some thought of her as "the crazy widow who never left the temple", but others saw her as woman of great wisdom, full of God's love and dedicated to his perfect will just for her. I think we can gather form the scriptures what God Almighty thought of sweet Anna. He used her to tell of the Messiah.
Christmas is behind us, the season we celebrate the birth of our Redeemer. So now we sit on this side of Anna. She had seen his Holy face, she knew that HE was the Messiah and she put her heart and her feet to action.
In this new year, allow God to stir something fresh in you. Seek to have the heart of Anna. Desire to dwell in the Temple of the Most High. Strive to serve Him with a lavish love and to seek his perfect, glorious will that He has just for you. There is no sweeter place to be than in the presence of our Redeemer.
Others seek Him still...
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This is a really good message. I liked how you modernized the Biblical message. It's a great fit for the new year. The only thing I might suggest would be to put the verse in italics. This is a nicely written inspirational piece.