Luke 2:36-38 (NKJV) Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess… of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 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.
Merry Christmas! As we wait for packages to walk through the door or to be pulled out from under the tree, give me just four or five minutes to encourage you for a moment. I sincerely believe God has something that He wants to say to someone this morning...
“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess… of the tribe of Asher.” At a glance, it doesn’t mean much. But suppose you investigate the timeline of the person and tribe of Asher in Biblical context. In that case, it will reveal hidden profundities.
Asher was a son of Jacob. As a result, he became the leader of one of Israel’s founding tribes; there were 12 in total. His name means happy and blessed. It was prophesied over his lineage as they left Egyptian bondage that his section of the Promised Land would be blessed economically, and his people’s feet would be drenched in olive oil. Upon re-entry into the Promised Land, it happened. Asher’s descendants were given a fertile and lush land with access to the sea. Like their forefather, their heritage was synonymous with blessing and happiness, many times resulting directly from wise and integral movements politically and culturally.
When the tribes ceased submission to the rule of judges and chose a king, the tribe of Asher followed suit until there was a division between Saul and David. Initially, Asher’s tribe made a mistake and went with Saul’s followers and formed a northern kingdom. But, when Saul died, there is historical evidence that Asher’s people helped negotiate the House of Saul’s allegiance to David. However, when David’s grandson, Rehoboam, took the throne, the kingdom split again. This political and cultural divide was never again fully unified in Biblical records for any length of time. Meaning, for thousands of years to come, Asher’s lineage remained geographically and politically disjointed from the Southern Kingdom. This situation left them unaligned or unified fully with Jerusalem, the House of David’s capital city -- the place of God’s temple.
Enter Anna. Luke tells us that she is from Asher’s tribe. But, he also helps us see that she is aware of God’s promise to move on Earth spectacularly through the arrival of a Messiah. However, the Messiah (and promise) will appear outside of her comfort zone because God dropped the geographical pin in the Southern Kingdom and House of David’s Jerusalem -- at the temple.
When Anna lost her husband, she chose to fulfill the void in her life with the pursuit of the manifestation of this promise. Almost undoubtedly, she had to leave house, land, and family. But, Anna knew her tribe’s promise was “happiness” and “blessing,” and she didn’t sense the promise manifesting in a darkened and depressing house. So, she sold out and relocated! Anna moved south -- to the temple. And, day and night, she lived there -- for EIGHTY-FOUR years -- telling every passerby of the truth that one day a move of God was going to enter the temple.
This widow moved her entire life to align with the fulfillment of God’s promise in the Earth. Think about it, with courage and fortitude, Anna moved to where she believed God was going to move next. Despite loss, pain, and grief, she would settle for nothing less than alignment with the promises of God.
Then it happened. After over eighty years of waiting... one morning, Joseph and Mary walked into the temple packing her promise. And, the Bible says, in an “instant” Anna knew, this ‘package’ was what she had been waiting for!
Eighty. Years. Then… in an INSTANT!
Don’t give you upon God! Keep believing. Keep testifying to anyone who will listen about the coming move of God. Despite family issues, loss, or past failures, move your life to align with what is promised in Scripture and made available through a relationship WITH Jesus. And, one day, don’t be surprised when somebody packs your promise through the door! In that moment, dance, shout, celebrate, and let the whole world know, “My God, did what he said he would do!”