Devotional Week 43 Friday
Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
1 John 3: 1
In The Night
“As to her child a mother calls,
‘Come to me, child; come near!’
Calling, in silent intervals,
The Master’s voice I hear.
But does He call me verily?
To have me does He care?
Why should He seek my poverty,
My selfishness so bare?
Lord, to Thy call of me I bow,
Obey like Abraham;
Thou lovest me because Thou art Thou,
And I am what I am!
Doubt whispers, ‘Thou art such a blot
He cannot love poor thee;
If what I am He loveth not,
He loves what I shall be.
Nay, that which can be drawn and wooed,
And turned away from ill,
Is what His Father made for good;
‘He loves me, ‘I say, ‘still!’”
Knowing the Heart of God
Today’s Study Text:
“And the king said, ‘What honour and dignity hath been done to Mordecai for this?’ Then said the king’s servants that ministered unto him, ‘There is nothing done for him.’ And the king said, ‘Who is in the court?’ Now Haman was come into the outward court of the king’s house, to speak unto the king to hang Mordecai on the gallows that he had prepared for him. And the king’s servants said unto him, ‘Behold, Haman standeth in the court.’ And the king said, ‘Let him come in.’ So Haman came in.”
Esther 6: 3-6
“Nurturing The Embers of Hope”
“He’s Our On-Time God” Part 44
“God is perpetually pouring His soul through time and space though but few know it. Not one man in a thousand ever understands a great nature in his own age. We see this on the human plane; and how much more should we expect to see it in the divine sphere!”
Henry Ward Beecher
Is there something happening in my life right now where I am witnessing how God’s timing is bringing everything together for my benefit?
Am I willing to wait patiently for God to work His way in His time in my life?
“Wait, thou child of hope, for ‘Time’ shall teach thee all things.”
As I have shared with you before, I love great gospel music. One of my favorite songs is by singer and writer Dottie Peoples. Her song called “On-Time God” happens to be one that I’ve sung a lot. Especially the second verse.
During the past two years as Jim and I have tried to sell our home, it has turned into an ordeal we simply can’t understand at all. Several weeks ago, having just been referred by a close friend to a third group of realtors, I went to the book of Exodus to reread the story of the Israelites crossing through the Red Sea on dry ground. What I especially love about this event is the fact that God did His best work in the darkness of night! When His children couldn’t see what was happening in Exodus 14: 21 we are told that, “the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.”
I would have loved to have seen the faces of all God’s children, when at dawns’ first light, they saw with their own eyes, the path through the sea. Here’s how the second verse of Dottie People’s song, “On-Time God,” goes:
“He’s an on-time God,
Yes He is!
You can ask the children of Israel
Trapped at the Red Sea
By that mean old Pharaoh
And his army
They had water all around them
And Pharaoh on their track,
From out of no where,
God stepped in
And built a highway just like!
Let me tell you, He’s an on-time God
Yes, He is!
He may not come when you want Him to,
But He’ll be there right on time!
He’s an on-time God, yes, He is!”
Well, guess what, our God wasn’t just on-time once or twice in Scripture. It’s a pattern that can be traced from Genesis to Revelation. And the book of Esther is just another example of the many times when God had everything working with such precision that He must have had a time-piece that would cause the finest Swiss watchmakers to scratch their heads as they marveled over God’s handiwork.
King Ahasuerus, we know, got little sleep the night after his feast at the queen’s residence. So he asked his servants to read to him from the chronicles kept about his reign in Medo-Persia. We also know that while the “reading” was going on in the king’s palace, carpenter’s were busy building a gallows for a hanging which was planned by Haman to rid himself of his mortal enemy Mordecai the Jew. And even at the queen’s palace, it is likely preparations were being carried out for the second night of feasting with both the king and Haman in attendance.
In order for everything to work out on Haman’s timeline, he had to arise early and make a quick stop at the king’s palace for he wanted to make certain he had royal permission to rid himself of Mordecai.
However, Haman hadn’t taken even a moment to consider that his time-line may not have been in line with the Creator of heaven and earth. Pushing ahead to ensure an early arrival at the palace put Haman in the last spot he really wanted to occupy. For at just the very minute he came into the outward court, King Ahasuerus enquired of his servants if there was anyone available to do something for the king. Low and behold, Haman was on “X” marks the spot. Frankly, Haman, you could say, was at the worst spot at the worst time. As author Howard Wilcox points out, “Right on cue, Haman entered the outer court. He could not be happier. He had a full day ahead. He believed he was going to get permission from the king to hang Mordecai and then go to a banquet the queen was throwing for him and the king. Life could not be any better.” Except for the fact that our on-time God had a very different schedule. The schedule on the day laid out by the God of heaven and earth – well in advance of Haman’s plans.
As I was reading Chapter 6 in the book of Esther, my thoughts went back to an event which took place about five years after Jim and I opened our advertising company. We had just signed up a huge account with “chapters” across the United States and Canada. We were thrilled and things were going very well with our individual accounts. Then one day, the national headquarters’ office called asking us if we would work with them as well. While this was a very prestigious account, we knew we had better have everything written out in a contract as there were rumors that some of the individuals who called us might have their own hidden agenda which we weren’t aware of at the time.
Just as we suspected, several years into our working arrangement, we were notified about some very duplicitous goings on. Without going into detail, the situation took a turn that could have threatened our entire business. Our staff were panicking, thinking their jobs were on the line. And we wanted to be able to assure them that God would take care of all of us. While Jim and I are Christians, our agency employed individuals who were experts in their fields and though some of these employees happened to be Christians, there were many others who were not. And so we were careful to be respectful to the beliefs held by others in the workplace.
On this particular occasion, sensing the concern of all the employees, I came to work one Monday and at our weekly staff meeting I pulled out my Bible and said, “I hope you don’t mind but I’d like to share the words of the Psalmist David for I believe God brought us all this business we have. I asked for His guidance and I think He knew this situation was going to happen long before we did and He’s never let us down before. I don’t believe He will today.” Then I read these texts found in Psalm 35:
“Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me: fight against them that fight against me…Stand up for mine help…Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul: let them be turned back brought to confusion that devise my hurt…For without cause have they hid for me their net in a pit, which without cause they have digged for my soul…let his net that he hath hid catch himself.”
When I finished reading there wasn’t one sound in the conference room. Finally, one of the staff members who was not religious at all said, “Is that really in the Bible?’ I assured her it was and then I said, “We could really hurt the reputations of the two people who have concocted this devious plan. But we aren’t going to do that. In fact, we aren’t going to say anything. We’ll just keep doing our work effectively and with integrity. And we’re going to watch and see how God takes care of us.”
Interestingly, in less than one year, both the individuals who were involved in this scheme were exposed by others and ended up leaving the organization. I can’t tell you how often after that, when client issues arose, someone would laughing say, “Should we tell them about David’s “net” in the Psalms?”
While I’ve had more then my share of times in my life where I can’t explain God’s actions or His timing, I have, like many of you, staked my life on the fact that my Father in heaven has a plan and purpose for my life and for yours as well. And I firmly believe His timetable today is just as effective a tool in working out all the events in our lives for our best good and to the glory of His name.
Indeed, He’s an on-time God. Yes! He is!
“God’s ways seem dark, but, soon or late,
They touch the shining hills of day;
The evil cannot brook delay,
The good can well afford to wait.”
John Greenleaf Whittier
“God often takes a course for accomplishing His purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He brings a death upon our feelings, wishes, and prospects when He is about to give us the desires of our hearts.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus