And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher: she was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 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 (Luke 2:36-38).
THERE WAS ONE ANNA. First, there were the shepherds; then Simeon; and now Anna. The Magi will arrive in a couple of years. (The Wise Men and the Shepherds did not all come at the same time.) God had His select group. He never forgets a name. McGee observes that Anna was of the tribe of Asher.
“I cannot refrain from saying that there are those who say there are ten lost tribes of Israel (that is, that the ten tribes which went into Assyrian captivity in the eighth century B.C. migrated north rather than returning to the land of Israel). If you search through the Bible from the time Israel returned to the land after the captivity, you can pick up practically all of the tribes. Here Anna is mentioned as a member of the tribe of Asher. Evidently Anna did not get lost!” (McGee)
He knows your name and knows the plan He has for your life. We do well to seek His plan and to listen all of our lives to His clear leadings. Listen, at times, His whisperings and sometimes the amazing things that may unfold in front of our eyes! God knows the hearts that earnestly yearn for His will and they are treated differently than those who are careless. God knows those who care nothing whatever about His will. They are not as brilliant as they might want us to believe.
We are not told why Anna was called a prophetess. She could have been the wife of a prophet or perhaps she was a prophetess herself whom God used to foretell certain things. Or, she may have been a “forth-teller” as much as a “fore-teller.” Some commentators jump on that bandwagon before they acknowledge the simplest facts. Fact number one: God had revealed to her that the coming of the Promised One was upon them. Fact number two: God revealed to her which baby he was.
This is more than Herod knew and more than the most learned scholars of the Jerusalem Temple knew. This is beyond the role of a “forth-teller.” It is in the role of a “fore-teller.” Anna was a genuine prophetess, although she wrote no books of the Bible. Many genuine prophets wrote no books of the Bible.
We do know she was a dedicated woman who spent all of her widowhood in prayers and fasting and visiting the Temple often. Some have suggested she may have been assigned a small room in the Temple because of her outstanding connection with the Lord and her continuous praise offered to God in the presence of others. She departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day (v.37).
And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years - That is, she was about 84 years of age. It does not mean that she had been a widow for that long time.
NIGHT AND DAY - Continually - that is, at the usual times of public worship and in private. When it is said that she departed not from the temple, it is meant that she was “constant” and “regular” in all the public services at the temple, or was never absent from those services. God blesses those who wait at his temple gates. (Barnes.)
SPAKE TO ALL. (Luke 2:38) 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. (Luke 2:28)
Anna (or perhaps Hannah) may have been the most powerful voice to make such a public announcement to those gathered at the Temple. Who did not know Anna? It seems that everyone would have known this woman or would have known about her. What a devout, steadfast testimony for the Lord!
Not everyone who came to the Temple was looking for the coming Messiah and not everyone was familiar or even interested in the Scriptures, just like today. But for those special people who were interested, Anna made it clear to them exactly who this baby was before their very eyes!
Anna had spent most of her life building her reputation as a genuine article. Her truthfulness was her coin. It must have been a tremendous experience for those special people who had been looking for the coming Messiah and to be told by this Spirit-empowered woman, That’s Him!
I must tell you that this story leaves a sob in my throat. The mere mention of Anna’s name, and Simeon’s name plows my field! There were such people as this, though extremely few in number, and I believe there are a few today that God breathes on and nudges.
Furthermore, I believe that role is open to more people than want to trouble themselves with it. She: “…spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Today, it is not a light thing that some speak of His name freely and some never mention His name. Paul declared: Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (1Corinthians 12:3)
Anna had to wash her dishes, do her laundry, and sweep out her apartment like all the other women in Israel. But, I doubt if she spent much time watching the Soaps and keeping up with the daily gossip found daily in the streets. Would to God that we could bring ourselves to being more like Anna and Simeon. We might be amazed at what God would share with us if we would pore over His Word and bow before Him in praise and worship.
He’s coming again, as certainly as He came the first time. Are you looking for Him as were Simeon and Anna? Ω
● This article is edited and reprinted from Good Morning! – December 20, 2007
Read Through the Bible in a Year
DECEMBER 19, 2017 - TUESDAY
A.M. Micah 1-3 P.M. Revelation 10
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A Good Verse to Memorize:
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:13-14)
Song for Today:
He’s Emmanuel (8:05) (Ladies’ Sextet – Calvary Memorial Church – S.Pines, NC)
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