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]
I have found that in the past few weeks my patience has continued to be tested. Many people will agree that it is no fun to be driving and have a car pull out in front and not drive the speed limit. Long lines with a tight schedule can bring about anxiety and frustration. I know there are many times I could be more patient.
I could not imagine being as patient as Joseph was during his time as a slave and prisoner. When you read Genesis, it is difficult to grasp the time Joseph spent as a slave and the time he was falsely imprisoned. We read a few pages—but those pages are thirteen years. He was sold into slavery when he was seventeen; he became 2nd in command when he was thirty. Thirteen years is a long time.
What keeps someone going for thirteen years? We read again and again that the Lord was with Joseph during these dark moments. Just the same, the Lord is with us. We can’t grasp God’s timing. Whether our darker moments in life are days or years, we can trust one thing—God is with us and He is for us.
“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31 [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.