Pastors Report - 12 Feb 2021
God - The Master Of Timing

God - the Master of Timing:

"But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me."(Psalm 31:14,15)

The world around us seems to be becoming more unstable and bizarre on a daily basis. Announced on the news earlier this week, travellers arriving in the UK must now quarantine themselves in expensive designated hotels, and risk a massive £10,000 fine or even ten years in jail, should they give false information. This draconian legislation is being imposed at a time when the entire world economy is reeling from the effects of lockdowns and government-enforced closures. And in the USA the new president is moving rapidly to ease abortion laws – for any point in the pregnancy – while at the same time, actively sanctioning practices which have for thousands of years been clearly recognised as perverted and depraved. And having to live in this cesspool God's people can't help but ask, "How long, O Lord?" – just as the psalmist did, 3,000 years ago;

  • O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.
  • Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.
  • LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
  • How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves? (Psalm 94:1-4)
God Created Time:

When we cry out in sheer frustration it's often because the problem is three-fold: firstly that we forget that God is perfectly aware of all that is going on. Continuing on in Psalm 94 :

  • Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.
  • Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?
  • He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? (Psalm 94:7-9)
  • Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
  • Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:23,24)

And secondly that God created time itself and is even more aware of its passing – and potential – than we are, confined as we are to our brief threescore and ten. And thirdly, that from His eternal, elevated position He's able to have a broader and a far more expansive view of the subject than we can possibly have – often looking millennia on down into the future, and controlling events as He sees fit.

In the book of Job we're told to let the natural world teach us lessons about the God we serve (Job 12:7-10) – and His creation of timing is certainly a fascinating one. For example, let's look at the normal growth process both animals and man himself experience. Firstly, the exquisite orchestra of growth processes – precisely timed – within the embryo itself; followed by the natural development of the young child prior to puberty; then the growth spurt of the adolescent into adulthood – making reproduction possible; followed by continual repair of our cells – completely renewed every eight years; and eventually also leading to a slowing down of such processes, prior to our death. All co-ordinated, specific timescales preordained and programmed by the God that made us all. Even within the 24 hour period we call a day, our bodies are being influenced by a created 'biological clock' that regulates our waking up of a morning and also our desire to sleep at night. No wonder He says the following:

  • For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
  • For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  • For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
  • So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:8-11)
The Exodus Foretold:

The events leading up to the exodus of Israel out of Egypt are made exceedingly significant by what the Passover foreshadowed. The true Passover lamb being non other than Jesus Christ Himself, who orchestrated the entire series of events that led up to their departure and entry into the Promised Land. But the timing of these events began many years before they left. Two specific instances illustrate the way in which God is the Master of Timing: The first being the exact number of years – to the day – from the covenant being made with Abraham and his name being changed from Abram, until the moment at which the Israelites actually marched out of Egypt. And this covenant was made with a man who hadn't as yet even one child to his name, and yet God knew there would be maybe a million or more of his descendants needing rescue as a slave nation, 430 years down the line.

  • Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
  • And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.
  • It is a night to be much observed unto the LORD for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the LORD to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations. (Exodus 12:40-42)

The second incidence involves the timing of when Israel was to inherit the Promised Land itself. From the point of Abraham's death, to Joshua actually dividing the land by lot was 400 years. This was the specified time required until the iniquity of the nations there – specifically the Amorites – finally became full.

  • And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, [and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them] four hundred years;
  • And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
  • And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
  • But in [a] fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full. (Genesis 15:13-16)
The Example of Jehu:

God's unique mastery of timing can be seen in a number of examples found in the Old Testament. One such example – spanning multiple decades – concerns the end of Ahab's evil dynasty and God's subsequent promise to Jehu.

Following the murder of Naboth and the illegal confiscation of his inheritance by Ahab under the advice of Jezebel, God sent His servant Elijah to prophesy the inevitable end of his dynasty. In Adam Clarke's commentary, he puts the timing of this confrontation at 899 BC, but the fulfilment itself didn't take place for another 16 years under the direction of Elisha, and his instructions when Jehu was anointed king of the northern tribes of Israel, replacing Ahab's line. (I Kings 21:17-21, 27-29, II Kings 9:1-8). Due to Jehu's diligence in accomplishing the task set him – of totally ridding Israel of Ahab's descendants – a further prophecy was given concerning the dynasty of Jehu himself. This too was then accomplished with precise timing, 112 years later. (II Kings 15:8-12).

In spite of Jehu's unrighteousness, God faithfully carried out what He had promised down through the generations:

  • And the LORD said unto Jehu, Because thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the throne of Israel.
  • But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart: for he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam, which made Israel to sin. (II Kings 10:30,31)

Only by putting it into a modern context can the timing of the events be properly appreciated. For us today it is as if God's promise to Jehu was made in 1909 – five years before the first World War began – whereas Elijah's initial prophecy was 16 years previous to that. Only now in 2021 would Jehu's dynasty come to an end, precisely timed and overseen by the Eternal.

The Example of the Gibeonites:

Events concerning the Gibeonites gives us an even broader understanding of the faithfulness of the Eternal even when the time involved spans several centuries. The inital agreement can be found in Joshua 9 when the Israelites were deceived into thinking the Gibeonites were a nation far removed from Israel. Whereas in reality they were only a few miles away and firmly ensconced within the Promised Land (Joshua 9:3-20). According to Adam Clarke this took place in 1451 BC. And yet this promise made to this gentile nation was still expected to be honoured 430 years later during the time of king David.

  • Then there was a famine in the days of David three years, year after year; and David enquired of the LORD. And the LORD answered, It is for Saul, and for his bloody house, because he slew the Gibeonites.
  • And the king called the Gibeonites, and said unto them; (now the Gibeonites were not of the children of Israel, but of the remnant of the Amorites; and the children of Israel had sworn unto them: and Saul sought to slay them in his zeal to the children of Israel and Judah.) (II Samuel 21:1,2)

Once again, it is only by putting the timing of this event into a modern context that the full scope of what God requires can be appreciated. Had the above infraction occurred in this year of 2021, then the agreement would have been made 29 years before the Mayflower sailed for the New World in 1620. You can't help but wonder then how the Eternal God – who changes not, and is the same yesterday, today and forever – looks upon similar agreements that were flippantly made between indigenous peoples and the English settlers of modern day Israel all those years ago. Clearly our governments break such agreements at their peril – in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and all the other parts of the globe that God bequested as a birthright to Israel's descendants.

The Example of Israel's Wandering:

And so we move from centuries to millennia. Two examples of timing should immediately come to mind – that of the nations bearing the name of Israel as far as God is concerned and the throne of the Israelite monarchy to be given to Christ on His return. First, the preservation of the Israelite tribes indicated in Amos 9:

  • Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.
  • For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. (Amos 9:8,9)

This preservation by God – the Master of Timing – is still underway within the various areas of the earth where the people of modern day Israel have settled. But there will be specific nations ready to be used as an example on a world scale when the Millennial rule of Christ begins.

  • Therefore say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.
  • And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence.
  • And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:
  • That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God. (Ezekiel 11:17-20)

Similarly both the lineage of David and of the Aaronic priesthood are both prophesied to be preserved right through to the time of Christ's return. Yet in both cases, these promises were made many thousands of years before (II Samuel 7:13 and Numbers 25:13).

  • Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will perform that good thing which I have promised unto the house of Israel and to the house of Judah.
  • In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.
  • In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness.
  • For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
  • Neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually. (Jeremiah 33:14-18)
The Example of Christ:

As we have seen with the events surrounding the Exodus, precise timing was involved in the sacrifice that needed to be offered for all mankind. That sacrifice was determined from the very beginning of this present age (Revelation 13:8). Similarly, the return of Christ was revealed from antiquity via Enoch (Jude 14,15). The time of the beginning of Christ's ministry was also precisely determined years before by the 70 weeks prophecy (Daniel 9:25). As a human being Christ showed an acute appreciation of the timing involved – from the age of 12 He knew it was time to be about His Father's business (Luke 2:46-49). After the confrontation with Satan we read of Him saying: " ... The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe the gospel". (Mark 1:15) . This was no casual, slapdash approach to His earthly ministry. Christ's death and resurrection was also something that had to be precisely calibrated and timed. He needed to be in the tomb exactly 3 days and 3 nights following His burial, shortly before sunset on the Wednesday of that week. This was the one and only sign He gave of His Messiahship!

  • But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
  • For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Matthew 12:39,40)

In precisely the same way, the timing of the Second Coming of Christ will be crucial. If the timing is mis-judged, it is prophesied that no flesh would be saved alive, but all mankind would be destroyed (Matthew 24:22). It is therefore something that the Father Himself will specifically preside over (Acts 1:7)

  • But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. (Mark 13:32)
Down to Today:

As we approach the end of this present civilization – the conclusion of Satan's allotted 6,000 years – we all need to keep in mind this vital fact ... that God is indeed the Master of Timing. He alone can see the end from the beginning:

  • And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
  • To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?...
  • ... Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
  • Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: (Isaiah 46:4,5,9,10)

God is not wanting any to perish – but allows time for as many as possible to come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). The signs are all around us that this present civilization cannot continue for much longer. What we can't see – but must be firmly assured of – is that Christ and the Father are currently working together in preparation of the precise moment of divine intervention, as described in Isaiah:

  • The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.
  • I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. (Isaiah 42:13,14)
A Personal God:

But not only can we have total confidence in God's timing and intervention in great world affairs, but in our day to day life and that of our families also. No human being is just a number to God, but each a real individual (Isaiah 43:7). Last Sunday a burial took place in our yard – our young grandsons had found a barn owl at the side of the road that was probably killed the previous night as it swooped low in front of a passing car. At their request, a cardboard 'coffin' was made and lined with straw and dry leaves and the owl was duly buried under the beech tree. The thought came to my mind that not only was God aware of the death of this owl, but was also cognisant of the number of hairs on the head of the grandson that lowered the box into the earth (Luke 12:7).

As we've seen from the examples of Jehu and the Gibeonites, God has some kind of database where He keeps accurate records of the generations – and there are numerous scriptures that refer not only to His plans for our children but for our grandchildren as well. We long for our family members to have their eyes open to God's truth – to have the veil lifted – and that indeed will come, and it will be at the precise time that is best for them, that will give them the very best chance of responding in a positive way. As Peter brought out on the day of Pentecost 31 AD ... "For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." (Acts 2:39). We can rest assured that, as the Master of Timing, God still has His hand on world affairs and nothing escapes His notice or control ... from the outer reaches of the universe, to the unrighteousness of our nations today, and even right down to the sparrow – or barn owl – that falls. Continuing on in Psalm 31 – quoted at the beginning:

  • Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men!
  • Thou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues.
  • Blessed be the LORD: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a strong city.
  • For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before thine eyes: nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.
  • O love the LORD, all ye his saints: for the LORD preserveth the faithful, and plentifully rewardeth the proud doer.
  • Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. (Psalm 31:19-24)