"To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven." Ecclesiates 3:1 (NKJV)
This Scripture was popularized in the 1960ís by a folk song which distorted its true revelation, nevertheless its deep and important truths are integral to us if we wish to grasp what God is doing in our world and in our individual lives. The non-believers think that the world is full of coincidences, but we should understand that the word is "coincidence" is not in the Bible, for good reason.
Because of the original disobedience which Adam and Eve engaged in, Satan became the small "g" god of this world, the prince of the power of the air, and the one who would seek to destroy everything that is good in this world. He is the mind behind the worldly system, and yet God is using even this to bring forth the fruition of His promises to man. However, we are constantly misunderstanding how the apparently perplexing events we see unfolding lead to the finality of that plan. A prime example of this is the crucifixion. Satanís ostensible victory, in instigating the death of the Savior, accomplished the exact opposite of what he had hoped for, and opened to us the path of eternal life.
But why did the crucifixion occur when it did? Was it at the whim of God? Did He arbitrarily decide to have it happen on that certain day? Of course, we know it was shadowed by Passover, but what else does the Scripture tell us?
"But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law" Galatians 4:4 (NKJV)
Yes, there was a specific time, but this is not only revealed in Galatians, but also throughout the Old Testament and particularly in the Book of Daniel.
"Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for HimselfÖ" Daniel 9:25-26 (NKJV)
This is an amazing prophecy Ė it told the Jews exactly when the Messiah was to come. Although there is much more to teach regarding this, the following is a simple explanation.
According to this passage, the Messiah was to come in 69 sevens, or 483 years (69 x 7 = 483) after the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Because Daniel was using the Babylonian calendar of 360 days a year, we can multiply 69 x 7 x 360, which equals 173,880 days. On March 14, 445 B.C. King Artaxerxes gave the command to Nehemiah to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Exactly 173,880 days later, on April 6, 32 A.D., Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem.
We Are Part of the Timing
It is not just the major biblical events that are on Godís timetable; those that seem insignificant are also. Godís intention is to use us in what appear to be minor ways. However, it takes many bricks to construct a large building. And it is important that all of those bricks are in the proper place if the building is to be solidly constructed. Consequently, let us consider the importance of our own actions. If they are in concert with Godís will, we will be an asset to the kingdom. If they are not, we become a hindrance.
Since the subject is time, it might be appropriate to consider a clock Ė perhaps one of those old grandfather clocks. We had one in my home when I was growing up, and it was interesting to look inside at the mechanism of it. There were all sorts of wheels and gears. Some gears meshed with others, and drove them. Because they were different sizes, the small gears would move very quickly but the intermeshing larger gears turned slowly. There were also wheels that spun, again at different speeds. Some wheels actually moved back and forth repeatedly, while others continued around and around. As they moved there was whirring and clicking and humming. None of this seemed to make sense to me. I could not figure out how it all worked. But I do know that all this varied movement, unusual as it seemed, worked together to make that clock a precision instrument of time.
It was also obvious that this clock would not run with just one of these pieces missing. Each was crucial in its own way, although some were larger and more noticeable than others. Likewise, can we not see that we are part of something bigger than ourselves? We have a grand cause, the best cause, and all of us are just as important to that cause as others, regardless of our apparent gifts. This is not to say that Godís eternal purposes will not go one without us Ė parts can be replaced. But we differ from the clock in this way Ė our particular role, if it is unfulfilled, will mean that the people we are created to have an influence on may be lost along the way. You see, God tells us in Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." But who gives others the desire to search for Him? Do we not many times have a part in this, even with all of our flaws? If you are known to be a Christian, who knows what an encouraging word, or a good attitude in the face of adversity on your part might mean in anotherís quest for truth?
Where God Guides, He Provides
Now just as I cannot figure out how that clock works, I cannot understand Godís master-plan. However, I do get glimpses of it from time to time. It is clear that God uses everything. He even uses the persecution of this own church to bring about good. The early church suffered persecution from Rome, and the Christians ran for their lives, spreading the Gospel to the places they moved to. Even here we can see Godís preparation, however. Was it a coincidence that Rome had been building excellent roads at an incredible pace just prior to this? Or that there was a common language for the first time Ė Greek? Just as today people in Europe learn English as well as their own language, at that time Greek was studied by most of the known world, so when the early disciples preached and wrote letters in Greek, they were understood in many countries.
We Are Here For This Particular Time
When Esther was asked to undertake for her people, Mordecai, not one to mince words, suggested that she had become a queen for this very reason.
"For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14 (NKJV)
Perhaps we are not in a high position, as Esther was, and therefore cannot affect a change in the well-being of the whole church, as Esther was able to for Israel. Or are we? Has not God promoted us to a place of prominence within the kingdom, as unknown and perhaps inefficacious as we may think we are? For He has said in 1Peter 2:9:
"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
Recently I was praying for my children to be prepared for whatever might come upon the world. Not knowing what Godís timing might be, I went on to pray for their children, and so on. In my concern regarding their future, I felt God tell me most emphatically that there is no coincidence that these particular human beings were born at the time they were born. Whatever may be their lot in life, their personalities, gifts and abilities were given especially for this time. Moreover, a life of ease is not always the best thing for our Christian walk Ė is it not through trials that we gain the most in our spiritual experience? Not only was Esther birthed for a specific mission, each one of us, and other generations have been similarly created.
Seizing the Opportunity to Serve
Nevertheless, we have a choice in these matters. Not only do I choose how to spend my time in preparing my children, and other Christians upon whom I may have some influence, I also make a choice regarding how quickly I react to obeying God as He leads me. For surely what was said to Timothy applies to all of us personally:
"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." 2Timothy 4:2 (NKJV)
Oh, that we would understand the importance of working in concert with God and His perfect timing. Let us remember when Israel sent out the twelve spies to Canaan, and only Joshua and Caleb wanted to press forward into Canaan. The others would not fight, and kept all of Israel from entering into the promised land. It would be another forty years in the wilderness before they would actually enter into the place of rest and peace promised to them. However, after they realized that they were mistaken by not going forward, they decided they would enter Canaan without Godís blessing.
"And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, ĎHere we are, and we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned!í 41 And Moses said, ĎNow why do you transgress the command of the Lord? For this will not succeed. 42 "Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you.í" Numbers 14:40-42 (NKJV)
But just as Peter found that a sword drawn without Godís command is a useless endeavor, the Israelites experienced only defeat when they sought victory without His help and direction.
"But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop; nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who dwelt in that mountain came down and attacked them, and drove them back as far as Hormah." Numbers 14:44-45 (NKJV)
The Anointing Breaks the Yoke
"ÖAnd the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil." Isaiah 10:27 (NKJV)
The power to accomplish something, is only given by God. We do not choose the time. To do things on our own is presumptuous and counter-productive, even as we saw how Israel failed to enter the promised land when they decided to go without Godís blessing. When God is leading us to do something, there is an anointing on it for that time period. We cannot choose the time ourselves. The anointing oil represents the Holy Spirit, Who directs things in our lives. When the anointing is on the man or woman of God, Godís power will also be with them. Otherwise nothing good will be accomplished. Even as Jesus said:
"Öfor without Me you can do nothing." John 15:5 (NKJV)
How Do We Cooperate?
"According to your faith let it be to you." Matthew 9:29 (NKJV)
First, we have to believe and keep in mind that God is interested in everything we do and has a will regarding it. Moreover, we must believe that what we do is vitally important not only for us, but to those around us. It is not that we are anything, for surely we are nothing in and of ourselves. However, under the control of the Holy Spirit, we can be very powerful in accomplishing things for God. In Acts 1:8, referring to the power we receive from the Holy Spirit, the Greek word "dunamis" is used. This word means dynamite in English. Could we ask for a better analogy for Godís power working through us?
We also have to be patient. Major decisions should not be made until we have the assurance in our hearts that we are in Godís will. I have made major mistakes by not waiting on the Lord before acting, and sometimes it takes years to get out of the situations those decisions have brought me into. Many things look good to us today, even as an answer to our dreams, and yet they may become nightmares. Let us rather inherit the promises and find Godís will "through faith and patience" (Hebrews 6:12). Some of those promises are:
"I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, and not forsake them." Isaiah 42:16 (NKJV)
"The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way." Psalms 37:23 (NKJV)
"O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps." Jeremiah 10:23 (NKJV)
When we yield to God, and know that we are in His will, we then have the assurance of success:
"He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." Psalms 1:3 (NKJV)
"Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass." Psalms 37:5 (NKJV)
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