Monday, August 19, 2013

All In God's Timing

Big Ben in London - reminding us that we
live in God's time
 On Wednesday of this week (August 21st), my husband and I will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary.  It doesn't seem possible that time could have gone by so quickly.  On the other hand, there were times when certain chores and activities didn't seem to move very fast such as changing stinky diapers.  Then, time seemed to crawl, but God's timetable for our lives is perfect.  We cannot rush life.
     A perfect example of this was given yesterday in our Pastor's sermon on 2 Samuel 5.  Verses 1-5 reads:  "Then all the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, 'Behold, we are your bone and flesh.  In times past, when Saul was king over us, it was you who led out and brought in Israel.  And the Lord said to you, 'You shall be shepherd of my people Israel, and you shall be prince over Israel.'  So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.  David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years.  At Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and at Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years."
     What is so amazing about this passage is that David is finally anointed King over all Israel, but it did not happen overnight.  In fact, as our pastor explained, David waited 15 years after he was first anointed king before he actually assumed authority over all Israel.  That is a long time for people in our society who like to move into power at the speed of light.  However, David waited for the Lord's timing.  He had a number of opportunities to kill Saul on several occasions, but he held back because he did not want to disobey God by striking the current anointed king.
     In I Samuel 16, Samuel, the prophet, first anointed David, a shepherd boy, as the next king of Israel.  As we know, King Saul had disobeyed God's instructions many times and taken matters into his own hands by offering a sacrifice among many misdeeds.  Saul could not wait on God.  He could not even wait on Samuel to come and offer a sacrifice.  Therefore, God rejected Saul and instructed Samuel to anoint a new king.  However, David did not immediately take over the throne.  Instead, God's timing had him waiting for 15 years.  During that time, David defeated Goliath, he became a great military leader, and spent many years on the run from Saul who was bent on destroying him out of pure jealousy.  Why on earth would God allow this?  I am certain David asked himself why he had to spend his time on the run.  Why God?  Why am I in this situation?  Haven't we all asked ourselves these questions at different times in our lives?
     As I think of David, I am reminded of Joseph and all that he had to face over many years (Genesis 37-50).  He was sold into slavery by his brothers.  He was falsely accused by Potiphar of attacking his wife and unjustly thrown into prison.  There he interpreted some dreams for two prisoners.  He asked them to mention him to Pharaoh that he might be released from prison but they forgot.  Finally, when Pharaoh had a series of dreams, one of the ex-prisoners remembered Joseph.  Not only did Joseph interpret the dreams by God's timing and purpose but he was also made second to Pharaoh in power.  Did all of this happen overnight?  No, it happened in God's timing.  What was Joseph's attitude?  He said to his brothers in Genesis 45:7-8:  "And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.  So it was not you who sent me here, but God."  Joseph trusted God through all the trials he endured.  He waited for God's timing, and the Lord was not late.
     In David's case, he was anointed three times.  He was anointed to be king by Samuel.  Then, Judah (following the death of Saul) anointed him king at Hebron and finally after the death of Saul's son Ish-bosheth, he was anointed king over Israel uniting the kingdom.  During those fifteen long years of waiting, God taught David how to be a warrior, how to shepherd his people, and how to wait on His timing for all things.  I know it must have seemed like an eternity during those days of running and hiding from Saul, but David remained faithful to God.  This is what He calls us to do as well.
     Both David and Joseph trusted themselves to God and His care.  They believed in the Lord's timing.  This does not mean that they didn't have those moments when they wondered if things would ever get better, but they remained faithful.
     Our forty-two years of marriage didn't happen in a blink of the eye.  We lived them.  We changed smelly diapers, went through various challenges at times with work, homeschooled our children, but through it all, we trusted God to bless our marriage and home.  He has, and we are grateful.
     Whatever challenges you are facing at this time in your life whether at work, in your home or with your health, remember to wait on God's timing and entrust yourself to Him.  I love the verse that appeared on the front of our church bulletin this week:  "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord.  'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future'" (Jeremiah 29:11).  God sees you just where you are at this moment.  He has a plan and He will work it out in His own perfect timing.  Don't run ahead of Him.  As the Bible tells us, "Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!" (Psalm 27:14).  This is what David and Joseph did and we can see that the outcome brought glory to God and lifted both of them to positions of leadership because they remained faithful.  We must do the same!  Selah!

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