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Resource - Clayton Doss, Bible BC, Crookston, Mn.

, Nov 26, 06

An Old Woman Who Lived In A Pew

Characters At Christmas 2

TEXT: Luke 2:25-38


We are closing in on Christmas. In our last message we looked at Herods Hissy Fit.
Matthew 2:16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding
wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof,
from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise

Tonight we are in Luke 2:25-38 and visit with the prophetess, Anna.

Some of you might remember an old nursery rhyme went like this.

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.

She had so many children; she didnt know what to do.
She gave them some broth, without any bread,
Whipped them all soundly, and sent them to bed.
(Sounds like something old mothers of long ago would do.)

Notice we are told in Lk. 2:36 that Anna was of a great age.
In vs. 37 we are told she departed not from the temple.
So, Ive entitled this message An Old Woman Who Lived In A Pew.

Please come with me in your minds journey and let us make our way over to the temple
mount there in Jerusalem.
This is the same temple where the angel Gabriel scared the old priest Zechariah.
The same one that king Herod helped builds and restore.
The same one that was 46 years in building according to John 2:20 Then said the
Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building
This is the same temple the disciples sought to show off to our Lord in Matthew
24:1 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for
to shew him the buildings of the temple.
We DO NOT impress the Lord of glory with our fancy get ups, whether in
duds or in detached houses; whether in fancy dress or fair faces, whether in
brains or brawn.
We DO gain His attention when we lift up His Son and seek to honour and
glorify Him, the King of Glory!
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This is also the same temple that came tumbling down in A.D. 70 when the Roman
General, Titus came to town.

Jesus knew this event would happen because as God He could look into the future.
Mat. 24:1-3 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to
shew him the buildings of the temple. 2] And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I
say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
But strangely enough, God did some marvellous things in that Temple.
With the establishment of the New Testament Covenant and the New Testament Church,
God was finished with Temple, BUT the Jews arent finished with it however.

The Jews will not let go of the old way of doing things and will attempt to build it again and
put it to use during the tribulation periodbut once again, even then it will come under
One of the most wonderful things took place in that temple had to do with a blessed
Senior Saint by the name of Anna of Asher.

Earlier in Luke 2, we have the account of Simeon, Joseph and Mary and the Christ Child.
While Simeon is giving his prophecy concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, in walks Anna of
Asher and she joins in the refrain of praise and prophecy.

There are three things I want us to see about Anna of Asher.


A. Anna was once married
1. If I understand what we are told here, it is this: Anna at one time had married.
She and her husband lived happily for 7 years at which time he dies:
Why or how he dies we are not told.
2. She never remarries and for the rest of her life the temple pew was her life.
3. From the Greek it is not clear whether Anna was a widow for 84-yrs. or a widow
of 84. No matter how you look at it, it means that if she got married at the young
age of say, 18 or so, she could well be near 100 years of age at this time.
4. She was just 15 years of age when Herodthe not so Great was born
She was past 50 years of age when Herod became king of Judea.
B. There is no indication that she and her husband ever had any children.
1. She has lived the great bulk of her life for her Lord, centring it around His house
This is NOT A BAD WAY to spend ones time on this ole earth; Its called
GETTING READY FOR THE FINALS, something that will pay big at the
judgment seat of Christ.
2. She did not allow her deceased husband to freeze up her life.
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a. She did not focus on the fact that her husband had died and she was left
alone and childless. When God withdrew from her the earthly love she
rejoiced in, she did not bury her hope in the grave.
b. In place of what God took, He gave her more of Himself, and she become
devoted to Him who had promised to be as a husband to the widow.
c. She got on with life and lived it to the fullest, as a Widow for the glory of
God. She trusted in God (1Pt. 3:5) and as Prov. 16:31 says her grey head of
hair was her crown of glory being found in the way of righteousness.
3. She found PURPOSE in serving God: a great and grand purpose and she lived
for that purpose right up to the end of her lifeand God approved of that
purpose and wrote it down in His Word for time and eternity!
4. Its like God says to us; if you want to know what it is that catches my eye; what
gains the attention of heaven, take a look at Anna of Asher.
a. Some would say, she wasted her life hanging around temple all the time
she ended up being JUST AN OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A PEW.
b. But just wait until judgment day and then we will see whether she wasted
her life or not.
c. Here in Anna we have the first female missionary of the NT a herald of the
Incarnation to all who looked for a Redeemer in Jerusalem. >> READ vs. 38
d. Blessed are all those who patiently and prayerfully await Christs second
appearance. Heb. 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and
unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto
C. Now, there is something so interesting here.
The Word of God says she was of the tribe of Aser or Asher.
1. Her Daddys name was Phanuel, which means vision of God. He may never have
seen God, but his daughter saw her Redeemer when Joseph & Mary brought the
six-week old Jesus to the temple after the custom of the law vs. 27. Now this
custom was twofold:
a. The Law required that is the case of the first born there was a payment of
five shekels (Num. 18:15-16) to be made for redemption from priestly
service, which could be paid after the first month of the childs life.
b. Secondly, when the forty days of Marys purification according to the law of
Moses were accomplished the parents were to offer a sacrifice according to that
which is in the law, as stated in vs. 22-24.
2. It seems that God made this entry into the Scripture to honour her Dad who
fathered a daughter who lived a godly lifeno doubt some of the credit for her
life must go to her father.
3. Is God trying to tell us something else here? Isaiah 38:19 the father to the
children shall make known thy truth.
An Old Woman Who Lived In A Pew Characters At Christmas 2 4

a. Its Dads duty to round up the family and keep them on track to lead the
way, guide and govern the family.
b. The wife and the mother can help her husband be what God has called him
to be by supporting her husband IN THE ROLE that God has assigned him.
Amen for that!
D. The Word of God says she was of the tribe of Asher.
1. A very interesting prophecy is made about this tribe in Deut. 33:24-25 And of
Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren,
and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so
shall thy strength be.
2. Anna became living proof that spiritual strength, life, vitality and usefulness can
be maintained right up to the end of ones lifehowever old a person might be.
3. She was the opposite of the person of whom it was said, She died at 25 and was
buried at 65.
a. Dont die before you die.
b. Dont quit for God until your body calls it quits or He calls you home.
We have looked at HER PROFILE, now lets look at


A. In the absence of her husband, she kept herself busy in the things of God.
I can just imagine that she said to herself,
My husband is gone. I have no children to rear. Now, what on earth can I do with my life? I
know I can serve God. I will devote the bulk of my time to interceding for others by fasting
and prayer. There are so many spiritual needs among Gods people, I think I will just make
myself at home, down at the house of God, park in a pew and pray.
1. NEVER diminish the ministry of prayernote in vs. 37it is a ministry. Anna
served God with fastings and prayers night and day.
2. We probably will not know until eternity just how many things God did, among
us, directly due to prayerwe may also learn what went undone because we did
not pray.
3. I know this much speaking of prayer. God isnt going to ask me to do something,
such as pray, and then toss those supplications away and not use them.

Say, how about this one:

Rev. 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down
before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the
prayers of saints.
B. Apparently prayers smell good to God!

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I love the smell of freshly baked bread. I love the smell of baked ham and turkey. I love the
smell of flowers. Do you know what God loves to smell? God LOVES THE SMELL OF
PRAYERS, coming up to heaven, being sent there by His children.

TURN >> Rev. 5:6-8; 8:3-4

1. One of the major pieces of furniture in the tabernacle and temple was the altar of
incense (Ex. 31:8).
2. Incense symbolised the sweet offering to the Lord in prayer
a. Psa. 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of
my hands as the evening sacrifice.
b. Luke 1:10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the
time of incense.
3. Oh would you please realise that God is listening when you pray!
a. He delights in the smell of prayer. He delights in answering prayer.
b. He hears every one that we offer! So pray! JUST PRAY!
c. God wants us to keep on praying until the day we die:
C. The Word of God makes it clear: the power in the ministry of praying must
never be underestimated, especially the prayers of the elderly.
1. If we were wise, we would seek out the godly elderly person and plead with
them to make intercession to our Lord in our behalf.

My Mother went to be with the Lord when I was only 15-yrs. old. Concerning her spiritual
life she was consistent in two things: she read her Bible faithfully and consistently prayed.

My dad left home when I was 10 and things were often pretty tight and tough. Her only help
was to cry out to her God to supply our needs. Often I would hear her praying for Bobby
that was me! I thank God I was on her prayer list. Hallelujah!

A pastor shared with me that he was visiting with his 88 year old Mother some time ago. His
Mom had gone to bed and he had gone up to bed too. Shortly after crawling under the
covers, his sister Carol, rapped on his door and said, Go stand outside Moms door and
He stood outside his Moms door and she was singing unto the Lord.
His sister told him that every night, the last thing his Mom did, before she went off to
sleep, was to sing a hymn to God. That must sound real good to her heavenly Father!
2. Like Anna, the elderly can pray! The elderly can also SERVE God too!

An Old Woman Who Lived In A Pew Characters At Christmas 2 6

A beloved brother in the church walked up to his pastor and shared something precious.
Little did he realise that his words would be of comfort. He said, You know pastor so-and-
so at such and such church died at the age 92. Pastor that means you have 30 years to go.

If that were me that that fellow was talking to, I would still be around to perform the
weddings of some or your daughters. And it would be a treasured delight to do sobut I
seriously doubt that I will live that long! BUT I would very much like to keep on SERVING
God even as a SENIOR SAINT; Anna of Asher DID and God gave his approval.
We considered Annas PROFILE and HER PRAYER. Now


A. Vs. 38 says, she coming in that instant gave thanks. WHAT INSTANT?
1. While Simeon is giving his prophecy in verses 34-35, in walks Anna of Asher.
a. Why am I not surprised? Well, if you wanted to find Anna, you would
probably find her at Gods houseman, WHAT A TESTIMONY!
b. Here is Anna walking in right in the middle of Simeons prophecy.
1) SAY, when good things are going on down at GODS HOUSE are you
there to be IN on them?
2) Anna of Asher was IN on a BIG ONE.
2. In that instant, Anna gets all caught up in what is going on and vs. 38 she
gave thanks was her way of saying AMEN to what Simeon was preaching!
3. She too had spent her life waiting patiently for the Messiah to come and deliver
Israel and its holy city, Jerusalem.
4. In some way, we know not fully how, Anna knew she was looking at the
B. You too will see Jesus when GOD REVEALS HIM TO YOUand when He does,
you will be glad.

Luke 10:22 All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is,
but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.
1. You say, Hey, I surely dont want to miss out on the meaning of Christmasof
what it has to offer. How can I be assured that the Son of God will be revealed to
me? What can I do to make sure, I dont miss Him?
2. SPEND TIME IN Gods HOUSE! Unless of course you have more important
things to do, but not the case with ANNA OF ASHERyou could always find
her at Gods House; SHE NEVER MISSED A SERVICEand God said, Im going
to tell the whole world about my Anna of Asher and have her testimony
recorded in my Book. Ps. 90:9 we spend our years as a tale that is told.

Think about what was going on down at the House of God here in Luke 2.
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There were just a handful of folks (four) that were in on the events that occurred there.
Outside the House of God, the world was all caught up in their own agenda and they
MISSED SOMETHING BIG! Just as they are missing out on something big right now.

Lets you and Me determine not miss any services and miss out on what God is doing down
at His house; ANNA OF ASHER didntshe served faithfully.

This is my message on AN OLD WOMAN WHO LIVED IN A PEW.

9 Dec. `07 River Valley BC Leixlip, Co. Kildare

11 Dec. `11, Eve River Valley BC Leixlip, Co. Kildare