By Robert I Holmes
What do you do when God is late? When His coming is not as sure as youfirst thought; when His promises are not coming to pass according to the timetable; When He misses the date and stands you up; when He does not quite come through as expected.
I do not mean when you have acted in your own flesh, or listened to 'JobsCounselors' or when you have been deceived. I mean when you have a valid,bonafide promise from Him...
I mean like Mary and Martha waiting for Jesus to show up for their sickbrother Lazarus. They did everything in their power to contact him in good time (John 11:2,3) but he never showed up. By the time he did get there,the man had been buried for four days! As the KJV likes to put it 'He stanketh' (vs 39).
I mean like Jeremiah waiting for God to destroy Jerusalem like he hadprophesied all those years. Poor Jeremiah, in a fit of depression cried out, "LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived ; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me" (Jer 20:7). He probably felt a bit like Jonah whose dire prophecies never came to pass.He accused God saying, "Truly, you are to me like a deceitful brook, like waters that fail" (Jer 15:18).
What not to do1. Don't make your own god! Aaron and the people were waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain with a word from God. God had already showed up, but He appeared slack in coming with the blessing of instruction. In the frustration of waiting, made their own god in the form of a golden calf (Exod 32:4). They acted perversely (vs 7). They made a god in their own image - in the form they wanted to worship. They were quick to turn aside from the way God commanded them. Israel truly did know his acts, but Moses knew His ways (Psalm 103:7). They did not really know Him at all. Do not wander from God's ways.
2. Don't make your own offering. Saul was waiting on the hillside forSamuel to come and make sacrifice to God. He needed to adhere to right and godly order in the house, he was not qualified in God to offer up sacrifice. When God's servant appeared late in coming, he bowed down to social pressure, and did the sacrifice himself (1 Sam13:9). He did this twice (1 Sam 15:21). As a result, he was cursed, lost his kingdom and his anointing to lead. If God appears delayed in coming, don't bow to social pressure. Do not enter into rebellion. Risk the riot - risk people rising up against you. David did, when he decided to pay the men for waiting with the bags, Jesus did, when he told them he would not be crowned as king.
3. Don't make your own ministry. Abraham was tricked into trying his ownfleshy method of fulfilling God's promise. His situation appeared hopeless. God had promised him children, but he was very old and weak. He appeared in the flesh to be unable to have children through his old and barren wife. So in the carnality of his flesh, he slept with Hagar (Gen 16:3,4) and had an illegitimate son - Ishmael - who remains a curse to Israel to this day (Gen 17:12). When God seems late in answering, wait for Him. Do not give in to your flesh. When Abraham came to offer Isaac at the mountain God said, "Bring me your son, your only son Isaac". Ishmael did not even exist before God, he was not a son. At the end all your works will be tested with fire, and your Ishmael's will not even exist anymore - they will be completely burned up.
4. Don't take someone else's inheritance. Jacob knew in his heart thatEsau was the father's favored son (Gen 25:28) and fought to steal his brother's birthright. He lied and deceived to get the father's blessing under the guise of being his brother (Gen 27:32). This is not the right way forward. If God appears late in blessing your circumstances, have patience. Do not lie and steal to get a blessing.
What to do
1. Remember his promises and his good works from the past. Make a good waraccording to the promises given to you in times past (1 Tim 1:18). "Has His steadfast love ceased forever? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious?... I will call to mind the deeds of the LORD; I will remember your wonders of old. I will meditate on all your work, and muse on your mighty deeds" (Psa 77:8-12).
2. Do you best in the circumstances. Joseph had some very great promisesconcerning his life and calling, yet he found himself in a pit, sold into slavery, thrown in jail and forgotten. The testimony regarding how Joseph carried himself in those years is clear, "Joseph became a successful man in the house of his Egyptian master" (Gen 39:2-4). Even in jail, Joseph worked hard, "and showed him steadfast love; he gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer" (Gen 39:21). God prospered Joseph in every circumstance - even though they fell well short of the fulfillment of the promise. That was to come in the fullness of time! What God requires is that you work hard, and you are steadfast in your love.
3. Return to God like Jeremiah. God offered Jeremiah the right hand offriendship. Though Jeremiah had accused him of being deceitful, he offered a way back for the backslidden and depressed prophet, "If you turn back, I will take you back, and you shall stand before me" (Jer 15:19). Repentance is the shortest path back into God's will and good pleasure. He was able to say from then on, "The LORD is with me like a dread champion" (Jer 20:11).
4. Seek first the kingdom. Jesus said we are not to worry about our needs,nor indeed about anything in this world, we are to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness (Matt 6:25-33). We are to trust our heavenly Father in all things and let him take care of us and our needs. We are not to make Him keep his promises, or try to force his hand. We are to trust quietly in him, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength" (Isa 30:15). Jesus told the disciples who were listening, "O you of little faith" why then do you worry. God is not sitting in heaven biting his nails wondering how he is going to pay for you, or feed or clothe you. If you are stressed, or anxious then something is wrong - with you.
We need to be reminded that God is in control. He does not exist within time as we understand it. He is eternal. A day is like a thousand year sand a thousand years is like a day to him (2 Peter 3:8).
Seven kinds of time
There are in fact seven types or kinds of time in the New Testament. Weneed to get a handle on time from God's point of view. The language of the New Testament - koine Greek - had seven separate words for the English word 'time'. When we read of time in the NT it is imperative we understand what kind! W. E. Vine was an expert in koine Greek, and I offer the following from his notes:
Chronos is the most easily understood time - a space of time, a marked moment to moment hands of the clock time. Acts 20:18 is a good example, "I have lived among you the entire time, since I came on the first day".
Hora it means an instant in season, high time, about time, or your timehas come. It is 'the hour of visitation' such as in Romans 13:11,"It is high time" for your salvation. The moment has arrived.
Ede means "by this time", or when the fullness has come. When circumstances are complete - when all is ready as when Lazarus' time had come to be raised (John 11:39). All things must come to pass before your enter.
Mechri means a point in time, a terminus, an end, a completion moment. Itis a defined moment in history, the end of an era, a turning point. Harvest time is like this - when the hours have passed, the rain had fallen, the sun has had it's fill it is time to harvest (Matt 13:30).
Popote means 'ever yet' or 'at any time'. No one has ever seen God (1 John4:12), no one has ever heard him (John 5:37) but having seen Christ we have now seen him. It is close to God time which is...
Aion from which we get our word Aeon. It is an age, an era, an period ofinfinite duration - eternity. It means to be without time! Christ is a priest forever (Hebrews 5:6) and we will have eternal life (John 17:3) or life without end.
God is not slack
"God is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; butis long suffering to us-ward" (2 Peter 3:9 KJV). God is waiting for us, Heis lining things up and very often it is our stubbornness, our slackness,our failure, our flesh, our lack of repentance that is holding things up.
"The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made" (Psalm 145:13). The Lord's character is to be trusted, He is in fact the only one to be trusted. If he does not come through on His word, no one can! God can not lie, he is not like a man. He is to be trusted. "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Num 23:19).
"For in him every one of God's promises is a "Yes." For this reason it is through him that we say the "Amen," to the glory of God."(2 Cor 1:20).Remember that in Christ all of God's promises concerning you are yes and amen. It is usually a matter of time.
Let us acknowledge him in all our
ways (Prov 3:6) and realize that His coming is sure. "Let us
acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun
rises, he will appear" (Hosea 6:3).
Just The Beginning---FOREVER.