After the scouts returned and ten men gave a bad report, the Israelites were not eager to press forward. Actually, they were considering the idea of selecting another leader to lead them back to Egypt. Yes, the people wanted to go back to their slavery in Egypt instead of the Promised Land. Talk about trust issues.
Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who were confident in the promises of God, tore their robes and fell to the ground. They spoke to the congregation only to have the people desire to stone them. Then God spoke. Moses pleaded with the Lord on the people’s behalf. God promised that none of the people would enter the Promised Land, but Joshua and Caleb. The people were to turn around and head back by way of the Red Sea. Punishment was poured out. Moses shared with the people what the Lord said. The people mourned. The next morning, they decided they were ready to enter the Promised Land, so rather than turn around as the Lord commanded, they pressed forward into disobedience and were defeated.
God’s timing is the timing that matters. He has everything beautifully orchestrated. There are moments He commands us to do something, and time passes before we obey. It is not supposed to be like that—when we hear the command of God, we should respond accordingly. Dragging feet is not permitted. But this was worse than dragging feet. When God commanded the people to turn around, they willfully disobeyed. When we are ready, we should be ready for whatever God has placed before us. The option of what we receive and when we receive it is always is in the hands of God. We shouldn’t answer, “Now we are ready” after His commands. Instead, our response should always be, “We are ready now” the moment of His command.
“Then they got up early the next morning and went to the top of the range of hills. ‘Let’s go,’ they said. ‘We realize that we have sinned, but now we are ready to enter the land the LORD has promised us.’” – Numbers 14:40 [NLT]
Waiting is hard. We are not patient people. I know I am the kind of person that wants to get things done right away. When I see something that needs done, I do it. When I see a problem, I dive in to try to fix it. I don’t like to dilly dally around.
The Lord is showing me that waiting is crucial in life. God created the earth with rhythm and balance. We cannot do everything. We shouldn’t try everything. We need to instead rest in Him and trust that at just the time, He will move and things will come to be just as He has planned and promised. Never in the Bible do you see Jesus rushing around like a chicken with His head cut off. Yet, when we closely examine our own lives, we often note we are too much action and not enough wait. We are too much noise, not enough silent moments with Him.
With Abraham and Sarah, they were promised a child but they didn’t wait. Sound like anyone you know? Then God revealed more of His plan to them, letting the two know that the promised line would come through their soon-to-be child Isaac who would soon make an appearance. Sarah laughed, but “this happened at just the time God had said it would.” Patience allows us to experience the peace God always meant for us to enjoy. Patience stretches our faith. Patience allows us to see God move in awesome ways. Today, remind yourself that God’s Word tells us there is a time for everything. Trust His timing.
“She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would.” – Genesis 21:2 [NLT]
God’s timing is always the best timing. Oftentimes we consider how we don’t receive a particular blessing until just the right time when it is needed, but He also keeps us from seeing or experiencing things until it is the proper time as well. Not only can we look at His perfect timing when it comes to the blessings we receive, but we also can look at His perfect timing when He protects us or keeps us from something until the timing is more appropriate or better for His great work.
This past week was Holy Week. It was a full on week of preaching and ministering. Throughout the week, I kept myself fixated on God’s Word, continuously in prayer, and I tried to balance out things so I had rest built in within the busy schedule. But in the midst of it all, God was not allowing me to see things that would throw me off course as well. We don’t often consider how He is fighting for us, moving behind the scenes to ensure His children stay the course and run the race before them. He is a faithful God. He is a merciful, gracious God.
God’s timing is always perfect. Today, consider what you do not get to see happening—the protection of God, the hand of God keeping you from items hidden from your view. The Lord embraces you—covers you with His protective wings. It is not by chance that you missed a particular newspaper article. It is not by chance that you caught that red light that didn’t seem to go off like the normal traffic timing at that time of the day. Everything is under God’s control. Today, thank Him for His protection. Thank Him for seeing things through to the end. Thank Him for using you for His great work and for never letting you go. He is faithful! He is awesome! He is Lord of all!
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!’ For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.” – Psalm 91:1-4 [NASB]
Noah was told to build and ark for him and his family because a great flood would be coming to cleanse the earth. He and his family would be the only survivors. They followed the commands of the Lord and built the ark and entered, trusting God to fulfill His promise. The storms came and the waters rose.
For forty days and forty nights it rained. They were on that ark for a long time. Many scholars believe they were on the ark for a year. Yes, a year! So when the rain stopped and the dove came back with the olive leaf and the land was dried up, what did he do? Did he run from the ark with his arms raised in excitement to see dry ground? No, he waited. He waited till God said he could leave the ark.
He was on the ark for a year but he waited. Then God told Noah to “go out from the ark.” It was time. God said it was time. Waiting on God and His timing requires trust. Noah trusted God when he entered the ark and He continued to trust God even when it required waiting on His timing. Today I pray that you too are able to trust God and wait on Him and His perfect timing.
“Then God said to Noah, ‘Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you.’” – Genesis 8:15-16 [ESV]
When the Lord spoke to Joshua about crossing the Jordan River, He told him to command the priests to take a few steps into the water and then to stop. That is an interesting order for someone to take because we do not like to only take a few steps. We usually have this grand plan that will be fast moving, be accomplished with little effort, and show visible rewards early.
The command was for the priests to take a few steps into the water, water which was at its typical high of the season, and then stop. Stop. Not continue across. Not rush on through. We like to rush. We like to do things quickly. But God does not think as we think and He does not move as we would always like. We want things in an instant, but there are moments in life where we take a few steps for God and then we must stop. We must wait. We must allow Him to move and walk according to His plan and His timing.
Too often we want to rush. We want to plug along quickly and squeeze as much as we can into the time we have on the calendar. Today, remember those two small steps. Remember the priests who had to stand still in the water after only taking two steps. Thank God for the two steps. Thank God for the stop to rest. Thank God for whatever lies ahead on your path.
“Give this command to the priests who carry the Ark of the Covenant: ‘When you reach the banks of the Jordan River, take a few steps into the river and stop there.’” – Joshua 3:8 [NLT]
God’s timing is the timing that matters. In a world where we are so timed focused, trying to shove as much as we can into the time we have, and trying to plan out every second of every day, God’s timing is still the timing that matters. He is in control, and if we try to take shortcuts to get where we think we are meant to be, or even to get to where God has shown us to be, we will find that God is still in control. We cannot rush His blessings; we cannot rush His plan.
God made a promise to Abraham, but He did not specify the details. After years past and Sarah still had not had a child, she considered making sure that God’s promise came true. She gave Hagar to Abraham so that God’s plan would be satisfied. Ishmael was then born. Clarification was made by God in light of the impatience shown by Abraham; he would have a son from Sarah, and this would be the son who would continue the chosen line. There was no shortcut. There was no “taking things into my own hands” type of situation that would work. God’s timing was the only timing that mattered.
Now Reuben, the son of Leah and Jacob, discovered mandrakes. When Rachel got wind of this information, she wanted to bargain with Leah for the mandrakes. The mandrakes were believed to help with fertility and Rachel wanted a child of her own. Up until that time, she had no children. Jacob’s children were all from Leah, Rachel’s sister, and both handmaids. The deal was simple: if Leah would give the mandrakes to Rachel, Leah could spend the evening with Jacob. Leah wanted so badly to be loved by Jacob so she agreed. Unfortunately, the mandrakes didn’t work for Rachel. Her plan didn’t succeed. Once again, we cannot rush His blessings; we cannot rush His plan.
Eventually Rachel had a son; in fact, she had two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph assumed the position of first born son when it came to the family blessing, receiving a double portion of the inheritance. Joseph was used by God to save Israel. Sarah also was the mother of many nations, as she too, had a son, Isaac, who was Jacob’s father. Both of these stories ended with the fulfillment of God’s Word, but neither of these situations occurred on human timing. God’s timing prevails. He is in control.
You may be at a time in your life when you are wondering why God is leading you in a particular area after all of these years. You may be considering when the big blessings will come. Perhaps you are losing patience. Just remember, you can make attempts to reach where you think you are to be, or where God has shown you will be, but ultimately it’s all in God’s hands. Patience can sometimes be difficult. It’s important to rest in the character of God. He is faithful. Trust Him. Don’t rush.