An On Time God
An On Time God
2 Peter 3:8-9; Galatians 4:4
Have you ever been late for an appointment or meeting? Most people have been late for at least one engagement in their lives. For some, tardiness is unusual. For others it is routine. Analyze this scenario, you get up on time and get out the on time, but there is a flat tire on the car. On the other hand, just maybe, the car won’t start, or the alarm clock fails to sound. Sometimes we oversleep, get caught in traffic jams, or get stalled by one thousand and one maladies that all signals we are going to have a bad day.
While some are late by accident, others are late intentionally. These are the ones who want to avoid something that is uncomfortable or uninteresting. They time their arrival perfectly. Some want to steal the focus of the moment by making a late, but grand appearance.
Even the best believers work hard to maintain a busy schedule and stay on time. However, consider this story I once heard. Tardy Terry was never on time for anything at the never too late Baptist church. Each Sunday he arrived late for the church, service just after the offering. When he sang in the choir, he never knew the songs because he came to rehearsals as they were giving the closing prayer. He almost missed his wedding but arrived just in time to say “I do.” He missed his daughter’s school play, but caught her bow in act two. Tardy Terry was late his entire life. While the people were sad there was a sigh of relief from everyone when they heard of his death. Finally, they thought. He’ll make it to church on time. On the day of his funeral, the hearse took a wrong turn. After the family had filed in, then came Tardy Terry’s casket…at the end of the line! He was late for his own funeral.
Because we are familiar with tardiness and fight so hard for timeliness, we are gratified to know that there is a God who is always on time. He is always in control and is never late. He never forgets. He never has a flat tire and cannot be held up by a train. God is always on time!
As believer’s, our faith is reaffirmed each time we consider that the God we serve blesses us immensely. We are encouraged further when we consider that he always seems to respond to our needs in the nick of time. Better than CNN… He’s on time all the time!
This text focuses on Peter as he reassures believers that God will deliver on his promises on time. There were many that scoffed at the faith of believers since nearly all of the Patriarchs of the Christian faith were dead and the present leaders were aging; the skeptics argued that Christ had not returned as promised. Nonbelievers unmercifully ridiculed the believers. Peter, one of the lasts of the Christian Patriarchs, addresses what appears to be a delay in the coming of Christ in his second letter.
Initially, Peter reminds them that scoffers are to be expected. Those outside the faith do not carry the same belief as those who know God. Thus, it is expected that those who are unfamiliar with his ways would scoff. The presence of scoffers and detractors is to be expected in the last days. Their ways will not be self-fulfilling. Only the word of God remains true.
Scoffers enjoy ridiculing the faith, when it appears that the object of their faith is fruitless. In so doing their denial of the faith is somehow reinforced. Evildoers and nonbelievers enjoy making fun of believers, quickly pointing out anything that might be an inconsistency between their belief and reality. Believers, if not reminded might be discouraged.
In the Old Testament, David wrote to believers who were disturbed about the apparent prosperity of the ungodly. In Psalm 37:1, he wrote “Fret not thy self because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.” David addressed the temptation to stray, when it appeared that the ungodly life was the most prosperous. Peter addresses the temptation to lose hope when it appears that the promises of God would be unfulfilled.
In such times Peter said it is good to remember. Since the immediate subject was the promise of Christ to return and usher in a new kingdom, Peter urged them to remember God’s past promises in relation to the great flood. He promised it and it happened. Since He promised a flood and it occurred, Peter concludes that assuming that he will do the same in years to come is logical.
Scoffers argue that despite the faith of believers, nothing has changed. The world continues as it always has despite their great sacrifices. They suggest that hundreds and thousands of years have passed yet the object of their belief has not occurred.
Peter reminds believers not to be influenced by such reasoning, because God is not subject to the limitations of time. Thousands of years in the eyesight of humankind are but passing days or even seconds with God. It was two thousand years before fulfilled his promise to Abraham that all the families of the earth would be blessed through his family. This occurred with the birth of Christ. It was several hundred years before the children of Israel took possession of the Promised Land. Obviously, God does not reckon time in the same manner as man.
Christ referred to the infinite nature of God in john 8:58, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was I am.” Indicating that He existed before Abraham was even conceived. In Hebrews 13:8 the inspired writer says “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Thus indicating the truth that God is not affected by time. What He did in times past can be done today or tomorrow.
Peter says, it is sufficient for believers to remember that God is not slack or negligent. He simply waits until the right time. With respect to nonbelievers, Peter said God is not slack, but is longsuffering, delaying to give them time. Thus God clearly moves in his own timetable, which is altered on occasion for the advantage of the believer and out of mercy for the unbeliever.
In Galatians, Paul makes it clear that when all conditions were perfect, God sent His Son to earth to begin the redemption process. The phrase the “fullness” of time intimates a social pregnancy that was ready to be delivered. God moved and acted when the time was appropriate, not before or after. He will make His return in the same manner…in the fullness of time!
Often believers are frustrated when it appears that God has forsaken them. When problems mount up and available solutions are few, some lose hope.
God is on time. When we are experiencing life’s difficulties the believer’s first response is to pray. After prayer, we take actions to alleviate our situation. Sometimes however our best efforts are unsuccessful. We did everything right. We prayed. We believed. We acted. Yet it often appears that our situation does not change. Our cabinets empty, our refrigerator shelves are bare, our freezers are filled with ice, our personal affairs are still in disarray. Times are tough. In such instances has God forsaken us? Are we foolish for continuing to believe in him?
A certain widow woman of the scripture found herself in the same situation. She was a believer but was broke, hungry and at the point of starvation. When the man of God came to her home, she found that God could take her last little cup of meal and cruise of oil and stretch it to meet her daily needs. She didn’t know when or how God would respond to her need, she just knew He would. Even as the barrel emptied she trusted God. When He arrived He arrived on time.
God is on time because He is ahead of time. We trust God to take care of things for us, because we know that God has already began the process to resolve our problem or situation, although the solution is not apparent to us.
When we watch a star twinkle at night, we must remember that the light from the closest star (other than the Sun) Centauri, takes 4.3 years to get to us. When the wise men saw the star in the heaven pointing the way to Christ the child, the light from the star actually twinkled thousands of years before, but because of the distance, arrived on earth later, but on time.
Often blessings that we request from God operate in the same way. The answer to many of our prayers is probably already in the working, at this very moment. When the answer arrives God arranges for it to be “on time.”
They brought a blind man to Jesus. The skeptics, attempting to confuse Christ, asked whether the blind man’s sin was the reason for his blindness. Jesus answered by saying the blind man was born blind so that he could live among the skeptics and be present at the day and hour that Christ passed by to be healed by his power. The blind man couldn’t see but restoration of his sight was already on the way.
Believers who are frustrated with problems or heavy burdens should remember that God may seem slack or slow but the answer to your prayer is already on the way. We cannot hurry Him, but we should be patient. That’s why Isaiah 40:31 says “ But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Neither should believers get frustrated when they consider the apparent prosperity of the ungodly. It is tempting to consider the wealth, health and the prosperity of the ungodly and question whether or not we are wasting our time. The ungodly seem to prosper but God never seems to punish them!
Even here the scripture reminds us that God is not slack. He will act according to His promise. He delays in acting toward them to give them an opportunity to respond. In the meanwhile Psalm 37:2-3 reminds believers that “…they shall soon be gut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”
The key word for every believer is “Trust!” Trusting God is to know that, He may not come when you want Him, but whenever He comes, He’s always on time.
Finally, we must consider that we serve an on time God. He is never late and never behind schedule.
United Parcel Service promotes the fact that it can place a package in the hands of the receiver in 24 hours. Yet there times when UPS can’t find the right address or can’t make a delivery because no one is home.
Federal Express prides itself for being able to deliver a package by 10am the next morning. However, there are times when they just can’t make it. The refund the charge but they still didn’t make it on time.
Email users promote the ability to send a message in seconds! Regardless to how fast email can be delivered; the message can’t get through when the lines are down.
That’s why every believer rejoices in the truth that we serve a God who is on time all the time!
Abraham stood on a mountain with his son on the alter. When the knife of sacrifice was drawn that’s when he found that God is an on time God! - There was a ram in the bush!
The three Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace learned that even in the midst of fire He is an on time God.
Daniel in the lion’s den learned that although angry teeth and enemies growl all around you that He is an on time God.
He is on time because He is fast.
How fast is God?
Light travels at a speed of 186,000 miles a second, but God is so fast before you can lift your eyes unto the hills from whence cometh your help, the answer is already on the way!
Sound travels at the speed of 1085 feet per second, but is so fast that before you can say “Father I stretch my hands to thee!” The answer is already on the way.
Thought waves travel at thousands of miles per second but God is so fast that while you are thinking, the answer is already on the way!
When the world cried out for a savior, the answer was already on the way!
In the fullness of time, God rearranged the biological processes of a woman named Mary!
In the fullness of time, God made a hole in the ordered processes of nature!
In the fullness of time, God sent the word to dwell among men!
At the right time, and on time, He revealed Himself to the world!
At the right time, and on time, He began a three-year ministry!
At the right time, and on time, He took up an old rugged cross!
At the right time, and on time, He died out on Calvary!
After three day and nights, at the right time, and on time, He rose from the grave, with all power in his hands!