GOD CAME NEAR
God came near in the fullness of time
Jerry A Collins
vDid Jesus come at the perfect time?
What made it the perfect time for Christ’s birth?
What does this tell us about God’s work in our lives?
I received this from a very recent email: On a Saturday nite several weeks ago a pastor working late decided to call his wife before leaving for home at around 10pm but she did not answer. He let it bring several times, thot it odd, but wrapped up a few things and then tried again. This time she answered rite away. He asked why no answer before and she said it did not ring at the house. Brushing off as a fluke, the following Monday he received a call at the office on the phone he used Saturday nite. The man wanted to know why he called then. The Pastor could not figure out what this guy was talking about until the caller said ‘the phone rang and rang but I did not answer it.’ Remembering the mishap the pastor apologized for disturbing the guy that evening, explaining that he’d intended to call his wife. The caller then said ‘I was planning to commit suicide that nite but before I did I prayed ‘’God if you’re there and do not want me to do this, give me a sign now’’. My phone rang and I looked at the caller ID and it said ‘Almighty God’. I was afraid to answer! The reason why it showed on the man’s caller Id that the call came from ‘Almighty God’ is because the church’s name is ‘Almighty God Tabernacle’. God’s timing is always perfect. Most often we can look back on events afterwards and see the hand of God’s perfect timing in all of it. God is never late. He never misses a deadline. During the Christmas season we must remember that God sent His son into the world right on time. He tells us so in Galatians 4:4 ...But when the fullness of time came God sent forth His son... There are two words for time. The first is a word which means an opportune time. A time when you seize an opportunity that comes your way. The other word is the word we get Chronology from. The orderly progression of events when everything follows in perfect sequence and is exactly rite. It is this word used here indicating that God did not just decide on the spur of the moment to take advantage of an opportunity but rather, had orchestrated a sequence of events over a long period of time and when the time was just rite He sent His only begotten son into this world. From other passages like Ecc 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time we understand that God is in control of what happens as well as what happens as a result of what happened. So your life and mine are in God’s hands. He keeps the clock and there is never the possibility for instant replays. So what about God’s perfect timing?
1. GOD’S TIMING PERFECT IN PAST OT EVENTS
(a) For instance, Joseph was sold right on time to a caravan passing by on it’s way to Egypt. At just the rite time the cupbearer mentioned Joseph’s name to Pharaoh. At just the rite time he rose to power in Egypt. At just the rite time his family was reunited in Egypt because of this famine and he could say to his brothers you intended it for evil but God for good Gen 50:20.
(b) At just the rite time baby Moses placed in a basket floating down the Nile. Just the rite time Pharaohs daughter came to bathe and hears the babies cry so Moses could grow up in that household. (c) At just the rite time Boaz came back from Bethlehem and see Ruth gleaning in the fields.
(d) At just the rite time David arrives on the battlefront and sees Goliath flexing muscle blaspheming God.
(e) At just the rite time Esther made queen and exposes the plot to kill her people and Uncle Mordecai recognizes Who knows whether you have attained royalty for such a time as this 4:17. God is in control! Nothing happens that is surprising to Him. He never says, I did not know that was going to happen!
2. GODS TIMING PERFECT IN CHRIST’S LIFE AND MINISTRY
(a) Things were right culturally because the Greek language of the common people was understood and universal making the gospel message easier to spread.
(b) Things were right politically because Rome ruled the world and built roads, postal service linking the known world as a result. Caesar Augustus even called for a census at just this time that brot Joseph and Mary back to Bethlehem where the Old Testament said Christ would be born.
(c) Often in the gospels the Jesus uses the phrase the time has not yet come or the time has come. Jn 7:6 Jesus brothers tell him to perform miracles in Jerusalem and convince people but he says the time for me has not yet come. Jn 7:30 we read of his enemies trying to seize him but were unable to do so. The Bible says it was because His time had not yet come. Jn 17:1 Jesus prays father the time has come. To his disciples he says the hour has come. Then to those arresting Him he says, This is your hour...when darkness reigns. Of course all of this is in God’s perfect plan because Romans 5:6 says For while we were still helpless at the right time Christ died for the ungodly! I rest my case. Everything at just the rite time! Whose time? Whose watching the clock? Who has determined the right exact time? If God is in charge of these exact events, the exact time and execution both in the OT and in the life of Jesus isn’t God still in charge of perfect timing today? Does God still orchestrate His plan and purpose today in our lives? Yes He does.
3. GOD’S PERFECT TIMING IN OUR LIVES
Sometimes we can understand God’s working in our lives consistent with His purpose for us at the moment an event is happening like Jesus did when He was arrested. Most often we understand God’s working in our lives to fulfill His purpose afterwards, when we can look back over time and discern the hand of God at work as we connect some of the dots and marvel the perfect timing of so many situations that bring us along in life. Romans 8:28 is a wonderful promise that ...in all things God works for the good of those who love him... That does not mean that everything that happens is good. But it does mean that everything that happens in my life happens at exactly the right time and yet it is not because of anything I have done. Along the way relationships were established; opportunities were given; help was received; difficulties were experienced. And here is the promise. No matter what it is, how difficult it may be, how challenging it can become God is in control orchestrating the very things happening in your life to fulfill His plan and your good! Just as He has done in the life of His son when He came near to us in the fullness of time. This Christmas season rejoice in your God who even now is at work in your life and mine to make us just like His Son. Using the very stuff of life as He did then to do now in us a good work. God came near in the fullness of time. He is still near to us today rite inside of us at this exact moment!