I thought I was done with the devotional thoughts about worship, but God keeps giving me other little pieces that I want to share with you. After last week’s description of getting into the manifest presence of God (which is a very different thing than the omnipresence of God), the question came to me, “Why then does it seem that some people can get there so easily and quickly, and others it takes a long time – if they are able to get into that intimate place of worship at all?” God immediately put Luke 2:25-38 on my heart. I will only point out a couple of verses from this passage. Luke 2:25, 27 – “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him….Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God.” And Luke 2:36a, 37 – “There was also a prophetess, Anna….She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying.”
Simeon was righteous and devout. The Greek word for devout in this verse is eulabes. The prefix, eu means “well”. The rest of the word comes from a Greek word lambano which means “to get hold of”. Simeon desired to get a hold of the presence of Christ, and lived in such a way as to make sure he was able to hear from Him and follow Him. As a result, he was tuned into the prompting of the Holy Spirit, Who led him into the physical presence of Christ. In this passage, it also says that God had promised Simeon that he would not die until he had seen Christ, and when he does, his prayer includes the line, “Now let your servant depart in peace”. In other words, Christ was all he was living for.
Anna made her home at the Temple and worshiped constantly. Verse 38 says, “And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” (KJV) Because she dwelt as close as she could to the presence of God and was constantly worshipping God, she was instantly in the physical presence of Christ when He was brought to the Temple.
The application to our lives is very clear to me. We must be living for Christ, always desiring “to get hold of” His manifest presence, living righteously as God enables us. We must also live as close to Him as we can. Continually desiring to be in His presence, in fellowship with Him, so that when His manifest presence comes, or when we enter into corporate worship, we will be able to immediately be in that Holiest Place, immediately worshipping. For me, when I do get into that place of worship, I don’t want to leave it and I don’t want it to end, which motivates me to live in such a way that I don’t have to waste time trying to get back into that place. I just want to be with Him. It reminds me of the chorus of a song (that I can’t remember the name of),
I just want to be where You are,
Living daily in Your presence
I don’t want to worship from afar
Draw me near to where You are.