Summary: Dead air. Static. Interference. All keep us from tuning in and being able to hear. However, hearing is essential. Lean in and tune in this year!
Pt. 1 - Dead Air
?Silence. It is the most dreaded moment for television and radio stations. It is avoided at all costs. Dead air. Dead air isn’t the result of being tuned in to the wrong station. There is no issue with the reception. It doesn’t signify faulty equipment on the receiving end. It is the output that is suspect. The point of origin isn’t originating anything. There is a period of dead air in Scripture. Heaven has gone silent. No broadcast. No communication. No instruction. No word. Ever experienced that? Maybe 2017 was a quite year for you. Perhaps you felt like you were tuned in as best as you could be. Your antenna was pointed at the correct angle and you were straining to hear. We have been told that the sheep know His voice. So, it isn’t that you are unfamiliar with His voice it is simply that He has not seemed to speak.
You want me to read the account of the silence? ....... I can’t it was silent. To fully understand we have to back up and realize that when Malachi came to a conclusion - what we call Malachi Chapter 4 - there was dead air. 400 hundred years of dead nothing. 4 centuries of a brass heaven. 146,000 days of no communication. 3,504,000 minutes of quiet. A nation that was accustom to “thus sayeth the Lord” moments and prophets who were constantly speaking for their God find themselves in a long, drawn out, seemingly unending cycle of dead air. Then we come to Luke 2. Luke 2 is the account of 2 people in Jerusalem who come into contact with Jesus as a 40 day old baby.
So out of silence this is what happens.
TEXT: Luke 2:22-38
(Message) Then when the days stipulated by Moses for purification were complete, they took him up to Jerusalem to offer him to God as commanded in God’s Law: “Every male who opens the womb shall be a holy offering to God,” and also to sacrifice the “pair of doves or two young pigeons” prescribed in God’s Law. In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. The Holy Spirit had shown him that he would see the Messiah of God before he died. Led by the Spirit, he entered the Temple. As the parents of the child Jesus brought him in to carry out the rituals of the Law, Simeon took him into his arms and blessed God: God, you can now release your servant; release me in peace as you promised. With my own eyes I’ve seen your salvation; it’s now out in the open for everyone to see: A God-revealing light to the non-Jewish nations, and of glory for your people Israel. Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words. Simeon went on to bless them, and said to Mary his mother, This child marks both the failure and the recovery of many in Israel, A figure misunderstood and contradicted — the pain of a sword-thrust through you — But the rejection will force honesty, as God reveals who they really are. Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fastings and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up, broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem.
I can’t stress this enough - God hasn’t used a prophet in 400 years. Then Mary and Joseph take Jesus to the temple to fulfill their ritual duties of making a sacrifice of thanks for the birth of a baby boy. They are met by Simeon and Anna. Simeon and Anna are our teachers today. Their account teaches us some things about navigating dead air.
1. Dead air can’t be allowed to kill expectancy.
In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel.
This is an incredible statement. After 400 years of silence it says that “Simeon lived in expectancy.” No requests answered. No prophetic declaration. No utterance of assurance. No profound word of hope. Just a man living in expectancy.
Some of us have experienced 4 months of silence and we are freaking out. Some after 4 weeks of no sound take matters into our own hands, complain of abandonment, and embrace anger at God for not talking. We begin to tune in to every other voice in the perceived absence of His voice. But not Simeon. He just keeps walking. He just keeps working. He just keeps believing. He continues to expect.