God Always Does What He says in His Own Time!
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to Pharaoh and speak to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of the Hebrews, ‘Let My people go that, that they may serve Me. For if you refuse to let them go, and continue to hold them, behold, the hand of the LORD will come with a very severe pestilence on your livestock which are in the field, on the horses, on the donkeys, on the camels, on the herds, and on the flocks. But the LORD will make a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt, so that nothing will die of all that belongs to the sons of Israel.’ And the LORD set a definite time, saying , “Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land. ” So the LORD did this thing on the morrow, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died” (Exodus:9:1-6).
While God was displaying His wonders in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh, his officials, and magicians, were learning that they were no match for God. Prior to the display of God’s miraculous powers in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh and his officers boasted that they were something great. In fact, Pharaoh was regarded as a god. But now the one true God of the universe is teaching Pharaoh that his “god-status” is false and phony. Among the many lessons God was teaching Pharaoh’s officials is that their power is so puny compared to His. In other words, God was teaching them the lesson of humiliation at His hands. Since they refused to humble themselves before God, they must be humiliated. This was no doubt a painful and hard lesson to learn. But it was perfectly okay with God. He does all things well.
However, God was not only teaching Pharaoh and his officials lessons of humiliation during this time of executing His righteous judgment on Egypt. He also had lessons to teach Moses and Aaron, as well as all Israel. God’s people were being taught lessons of obedience, trust and confidence in Him, waiting on Him, listening to His voice, looking to Him for guidance and direction, and His perfect timing. One other lesson God intended to teach Moses and Aaron and the children of Israel is that of doing what He says at His appointed time. This spiritual lesson is vividly presented to us in the passage above. God always does what He says in His own time.
During the plague on the livestock, which is the fifth plague on Egypt, God made a distinction between the livestock of Israel and the livestock of Egypt. He would only target Egypt’s livestock. He warned Pharaoh that if he continued to hold His people back, His hand would bring a terrible plague on Egypt’s livestock. Egypt’s horses and donkeys and camels and cattle and sheep and goats would die. But not even one of the animals belonging to Israel would die. This was God’s sovereign decision. God also chose a specific time to execute His sovereign decision. Brimming with great confidence in the presence of Pharaoh, Moses declared to him: “And the LORD set a definite time, saying, ‘Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land'” (Exodus 9:5). Please notice very carefully that, it was Yahweh who set a definite time. The Hebrew word translated “definite time,” (Hebrew: mo’ed) also means “appointment,” or “signal.” It often designates a determined time or place without any regard for the purpose. In our passage, the focus is on God’s determination of a particular time to carry out His word. He had given Pharaoh a warning that if he refused to let His people, a terrible plague would come upon all of Egypt’s livestock. Knowing very well that Pharaoh would continue in his stubborn ways, God set a definite time to carry out His word. That set time was “tomorrow.” God was telling Pharaoh: “I am God, and I am free to choose the time to do whatever My heart desires or determines to do. You will learn that lesson too. I am the Lord of time. You will find out tomorrow that My word to you is not a bluff. I mean it. And I will bring it to pass at the time of My choice, whether you like it or not.”
Please notice very carefully that the Lord not only determined the time, but the Lord is the One who also promises to take a decisive action. “Tomorrow the LORD will do this thing in the land.” The lesson is clear: God always does what He says in His own time. Notice the Bible further says, “So the LORD did this thing on the morrow, and all the livestock of Egypt died; but of the livestock of the sons of Israel, not one died” (Exodus 9:6). He did it exactly at the time He appointed or signaled. He was right on time. He was not an hour early or an hour late.
I tell you friends, God does what He says at His appointed time. This lesson is timeless. As such, God has preserved it in His word for His people in all ages. Moses and Aaron and the sons of Israel learned it and saw its practical outworking in their lives. The prophets of Israel learned it and practiced it. The kings of Israel learned it and lived it out in their lives. The apostles and the disciples of Christ also learned it and looked to its fulfillment in their lives. It is now our time to learn it and live it out in our lives.
We live in an age of “hurry” and “haste.” We have the “microwave” mentality. Pop it in any time you want, and pop it out at the time you choose. People in our society want things done on their schedule. For example, if a coach is not producing good results in his first year on the job, calls for his resignation inundate him, on twitter, on facebook, in the newspaper, on the radio, and on TV sports channels. When a politician is not delivering on the promise he made during his campaign, we quickly vote him out of office in the next election, if not sooner. If an athlete is not performing according to his or her abilities, he or she is benched or traded as soon as the next trading season opens. Why? We want things done on our own timetable. Unfortunately, believers have also bought into this mentality. We forget we have a God who does what He says in His own time. We forget He is sovereign and free to do as He pleases in the heavens and on the earth. We forget He is not going to be coerced to change His timetable for us. Why? He is God. He is in control. He is in charge. He is all-wise. He knows what He is doing in our lives. He must therefore be respected and given the freedom to do what He says in His appointed time. He must be resolutely trusted that His timing is best in every situation. He must not be rushed by us to do things on our timetable.
To live out the principle that God always does what He says in His own time, in this age of “hurry” and “haste,” we must do the following. First, we must rely on the Spirit to impress this truth deep into our hearts. Second, we must remember that God is in control. Third, we must rest assured that God’s timing is perfect in every situation in our lives. Fourth, we must resolutely trust that He knows what He is doing in our lives, even if we are impatient with His timing. Fifth, we must not rush Him to follow our timetable, because we cannot force Him to change His timetable. How are you doing in living out this spiritual lesson? Please, think about that!
Learning from the Book of Obadiah!
The only book in the entire Bible that begins with the letter O, is Obadiah. It is also the briefest book in the Old Testament. Because of its brevity, it is often overlooked or skipped right over on the way to the prophet Jonah. But the briefest book in the Old Testament is indeed a great book with a great message that echoes an important principle taught and modeled by the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout His earthly ministry. The principle being: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). Obadiah may be a small package, but it holds the best gifts of God’s truth. Dr. McGee writes: “It is a small thing, but it has a potent message.” The prophet Obadiah was one of the most obscure prophets of the Old Testament. He prophesied of the doom of the proud nation of Edom and the restoration of God’s chosen people, Israel. The prophecy in the book was written in vivid, lucid, and forceful language. God fulfilled His word concerning judging Edom. Their rock fortress still stands, but their name and their nation have perished. Please look at the world map today! You will not find Edom on it as a nation. God completely wiped them out as He prophesied through Obadiah.
The message in Obadiah is certainly relevant for our times. Just as the nation of Edom, in her pride, chose to live without God, so also nations in this present era are living without God. And just as God brought a devastating judgment upon Edom for her arrogance, so also He will do, if nations in our day continue to walk in their pride of heart. The prominent doctrines presented in Obadiah include: the person of God, the power of God, the people of God, possession of God, the punishment of God, the prediction of the day of the Lord, the preservation of God’s redeemed people, and the promise of God.
Although Obadiah is the smallest book of the Old Testament, it has several important lessons for God’s people today. It is therefore my prayer that the Holy Spirit will enable us to pay careful attention to the truths revealed in it. And that in doing so, He will draw us closer to God’s heart and deepen our walk with Him and our witness of Him in such a time as this. May God bless you as you listen to the verse by verse exposition of the rich and remarkable prophetic book of Obadiah! To listen to these messages, please this link:http://www.oldhost.yesuli.org/audio/MP3AudioLibraryObadiah.htm
Learning from the Book of Third John!
The epistle of Third John is the shortest book in the New Testament and the entire Bible. It contains 219 words and thirteen verses in the original. In fact, this personal letter is just long enough to fit a single sheet of papyrus (10 inches by 8 inches) conforming to the pattern of letters of that period. It is the sixth of seven general epistles in the New Testament, all of which are titled according to their author (namely James, 1st and 2nd Peter, 1st John, 2nd John, 3rd John, and Jude). The Letter of Third John is also the only New Testament book that does not directly mention Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit is not referenced. Bible Teacher, Author and Pastor Chuck Swindoll shares this poignant insight about Third John: “This is another postcard in the New Testament, but one that carries quite a wallop when it comes to telling God’s people to “straighten up” and seek unity.” Dr. McGee also makes this remark about the Letter of Third John: “This epistle deals with my life for God, and it has to do with walking and working in the truth. Love can be very sloppy, it can be misdirected, and it certainly can be misunderstood if it is not expressed within the boundary of truth.” The point of these quotes is simple and straightforward: Although Third John is the shortest book in the entire Bible, yet it is a great book with a great message. It’s great message calls on all true believers in Jesus Christ to living a life of balance:-the balance of love and truth. Often some Christians emphasize one of these two to the exclusion of the other. The result of this imbalance can be devastating. Churches often go through bitter and divisive battles when they lose their balance:-the balance of love and truth. The Lord Jesus Himself, the Head, Lord, Savior, Sanctifier, and Redeemer of the Church exemplified the balance of love and truth in His ministry on earth. His Church must follow in His footsteps. The church to which Gaius, the recipient of Third John belonged, was exhorted to maintain the balance of love and truth. The believers who were in this first century church were also charged to continue their practice of Christian hospitality as well as be steadfast in the face of opposition.
Certainly, the message in Third John is relevant for our times. Just as the believers the apostle John exhorted to maintain the balance of love and truth, so also Christians today must endeavor to maintain the balance of love and truth in their walk with God. Just as the early church practiced Christian hospitality for sake of the gospel, so also the Church of today must do in order to advance the cause of Christ. Just as the early Christians were exhorted to be steadfast in the face of opposition, so also must believers in the twenty-first century Church be steadfast in the face of opposition. Just as the first century Church walked in the truth, so also the Church today must rely on the Holy Spirit to walk in the truth. Just as the first century Church faced dictatorial leaders like Diotrephes in her midst, so also will the twenty-first century churches face such leaders and must learn how to deal with them. The prominent doctrines vividly illustrated in Third John include: the person of God, prayer, the prosperity of the believer, the pleasure of ministry, proper conduct in the truth, partnership in the gospel, the people of God, practice of hospitality, and the peace of God.
Third John is the smallest book in the entire Bible. But it has a great reservoir of relevant and practical lessons for God’s people today. It is therefore my prayer that the Holy Spirit will enable us to pay close attention to the truths revealed in it. And that, in doing so, He will draw us closer to God’s heart and deepen our worship of Him, walk with Him and our witness of Him in such a time as this. May God richly bless you as you listen to the verse by verse exposition of the smallest yet significant book of the Bible! To listen to the messages, please click this link:http://www.oldhost.yesuli.org/audio/MP3AudioLibraryThirdJohn.htm
Learning from the Book of Habakkuk!
Habakkuk is the second of three books in the Old Testament that begins with the letter H (the others being Hosea and Haggai). The name “Habakkuk” means “embracer” or “wrestler.” It signifies a person who embraces, or one who is embraced. If you please, you can call Habakkuk “Mr. Embracer.” Actually, at the end of the book of Habakkuk his name as “an embracer” becomes appropriate as Habakkuk clings to the Lord his God regardless of his circumstances. The book of Habakkuk is unique in that it includes no oracle addressed to God’s chosen and covenant people. In fact, Habakkuk is the only minor prophet who never addressed the people directly. His book is a dialogue between the prophet and God. You see, God’s prophet spoke for God to men. But Habakkuk reasoned earnestly with God about His dealings with men. Richard W. De Haan of “Our Daily Bread Ministries” shares this poignant insight about the prophet: “Habakkuk was not a self-centered person concerned only with the comfort and safety of himself and his family. As a true patriot, he was deeply distressed by the moral and spiritual conditions about him. He loved his nation, and knew it was moving ever closer to the precipice of destruction by continuing to break the laws of God. Therefore two anguished questions burst forth from his lips: How long? and Why?” Also, noted Bible Expositor James Montgomery Boice shares this thought provoking insight about the book of Habakkuk: “Habakkuk is profound because it raises deep questions about the workings of God in history-why God does what He does, why He does it in the way He does, and why He sometimes does nothing. It is also profound because of the answers God gives. God says that although the righteous may not understand everything He is doing in history, they nevertheless should live by faith in Him (Hab. 2:4). This statement is so important that it is picked up and quoted three times in the New Testament: twice by Paul (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11) and once by the author of Hebrews (Heb. 10:38).”
Clearly, these two quotations show how relevant the message of Habakkuk is for our times. Just as the prophet Habakkuk demonstrated true patriotism by crying out in anguish to God about the moral and spiritual conditions of his nation, so also believers today must show true patriotism by earnestly seeking God’s face for spiritual restoration of their nations . You see, true patriotism is not merely about waving our national flags, donning the colors of our national flags, and showing great emotion while singing our national anthems. It is far more than that. It is to be deeply concerned about the spiritual and moral conditions of our nation, calling upon God to rid the land of moral corruption and spiritual degeneration. Also, the message of Habakkuk is applicable in our day because God’s believing people today ask the questions found in Habakkuk: Why does evil seem to go unpunished for so long? Why does God sometimes reprove the less evil by sending an even greater evil? God’s people will benefit a great deal by learning from God’s responses to Habakkuk’s questions. The prominent doctrines taught in Habakkuk include: the person of God, the people of God, the purity of God, perversion of justice, the power of God, the plan of God, the punishment of God, the promise of God, the praise of God, and prayer.
Although Habakkuk is considered a minor prophet, yet his book contains several major spiritual lessons for God’s believing people today. It is therefore my prayer that the Holy Spirit will enable us to pay closer attention to its timeless principles and precepts for our own spiritual growth and good. And that, in doing so, He will change and conform us more into the blessed image of our Lord Jesus Christ in such a time as this. May God richly bless you as you listen to the verse by verse exposition of the profound and practical prophetic book of Habakkuk!
Habakkuk’s prophecy was received during the time in history when Assyria was beginning to weaken, and soon Babylon would be the world power.
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