A. Genesis 1:14
God created time; therefore He transcends it.
B. 2nd Peter 3:8; Isaiah 46:9-10
As one who exists outside time, God is not confined by it. Thus His perception of our reality is enormously patient.
C. Romans 15:4
We observe patience when we read the Scriptures, and thereby gain hope.
A. Abraham’s Nation & Land
1. Genesis 12:1-4
Abram was 75-years-old when God promised to make a “great nation” of him.
2. Genesis 15:1-8, 13-16
Years passed and doubt settled in, so God renewed the promise, adding to it the promise of land, and giving him detailed insight as to when the promise would be fulfilled: 400 years of bondage would transpire first!
3. Genesis 21:1-7
Abraham finally became a father at age 100, his wife giving birth to Isaac, 25 years after the promise.
4. Genesis 25:19-26
Isaac himself became a father to Jacob at age 60, now 85 years removed from the promise to Abraham.
5. Genesis 47:7-9
Jacob was 130-years-old when he met Pharaoh. Thus, 215 years had gone by since Abraham received the promise.
6. Exodus 12:40-41
The descendants of Israel were kept in Egyptian captivity 430 years. Although we don’t know just how long after the arrival of the Israelites in Egypt they were enslaved, we can calculate that at least 645 years transpired between the promise of God to Abraham and his offspring emerging from foreign captivity.
7. Numbers 32:13
The Israelites liberated from Egypt very quickly sinned and were punished with 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. Thus, it would be at least 685 years from the promise to its fulfillment.
8. Joshua 15:6-10; 21:43-45
Upon arrival in the Promised Land, the Israelites had to fight for it. Conquest took no less than 5 years. Finally, at least 690 years after God swore to Abram he would be a nation, it came to pass. God completely fulfilled that promise.
9. Acts 7:4-5; Hebrews 11:13
Abraham never beheld the fulfillment of any of those major promises, but he kept faith they would be fulfilled, nonetheless.
B. Abraham’s Seed
1. Genesis 12:3; 22:18
Besides the nation and land promises, God gave to Abraham an even greater promise – that in his Seed all nations would be blessed.
2. Galatians 3:16
Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of that promise. He is the Seed Himself.
3. Matthew 1:1-17
Jesus arrived 42 generations later! Thousands of years passed before this promise came to fruition.
a. Act 13:20
The time of the judges lasted about 450 years, ending 1,130 years after the promise.
b. Acts 13:21
Saul reigned over Israel 40 years, ending 1,170 years after the promise.
c. 1st Kings 2:11
David reigned over Israel 40 years, ending 1,210 years after the promise.
d. 2nd Chronicles 9:30
Solomon reigned over Israel 40 years, ending 1,250 years after the promise.
e. 2nd Chronicles 12:13
Rehoboam reigned over Judah 17 years, ending 1,267 years after the promise.
f. 2nd Chronicles 13:1-2
Abijah reigned over Judah 3 years, ending 1,270 years after the promise.
g. 2nd Chronicles 16:13
Asa reigned over Judah 41 years, ending 1,308 years after the promise.
h. 2nd Chronicles 20:31
Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah 25 years, ending 1,333 years after the promise.
i. 2nd Chronicles 21:5
Jehoram reigned over Judah 8 years, ending 1,341 years after the promise.
j. 2nd Kings 8:26
Ahaziah reigned over Judah 1 year, ending 1,342 years after the promise.
k. 2nd Kings 11:1-3
Athaliah usurped the throne of Judah 6 years, ending 1,348 years after the promise.
l. 2nd Kings 12:1
Jehoash reigned over Judah 40 years, ending 1,388 years after the promise.
m. 2nd Kings 14:1-2
Amaziah reigned over Judah 29 years, ending 1,417 years after the promise.
n. 2nd Kings 15:1-2
Azariah reigned over Judah 52 years, ending 1,469 years after the promise.
o. 2nd Kings 15:32-33
Jotham reigned over Judah 16 years, ending 1,485 years after the promise.
p. 2nd Kings 16:1-2
Ahaz reigned over Judah 16 years, ending 1,501 years after the promise.
q. 2nd Kings 18:1-2
Hezekiah reigned over Judah 29 years, ending 1,530 years after the promise.
r. 2nd Kings 21:1
Manasseh reigned over Judah 55 years, ending 1,585 years after the promise.
s. 2nd Kings 21:19
Amon reigned over Judah 2 years, ending 1,587 years after the promise.
t. 2nd Kings 22:1
Josiah reigned over Judah 31 years, ending 1,618 years after the promise.
u. 2nd Kings 23:31
Jehoahaz reigned over Judah 3 months, ending 1,618 years after the promise.
v. 2nd Kings 23:36
Jehoiakim reigned over Judah 11 years, ending 1,629 years after the promise.
w. 2nd Kings 24:8
Jehoiachin reigned over Judah 3 months, ending 1,629 years after the promise.
x. 2nd Kings 24:18
Zedekiah reigned over Judah 11 years, ending 1,640 years after the promise.
y. 2nd Chronicles 36:15-21; Jeremiah 25:1-14
Judah was conquered by Babylon and the Jews were held in captivity 70 years, ending 1,710 years after the promise.
z. Following the captivity, the Jews were repatriated to Judah (Ezra-Nehemiah), and then about 400 years, using secular history to fill in the blanks, elapsed until Christ came, making for well over 2,100 years from the time God spoke to Abraham until Christ fulfilled the promise.
4. 1st Peter 1:10-12
All the prophets who foretold Christ’s coming did so for the benefit of those who would come later, including our present generation, not for themselves.
5. Hebrews 11:39-40
If all the promises to Abraham came to fruition hundreds and even thousands of years following His death, then we must learn to trust God that our obedience to Him will result in His fulfilled promises in His own time.
Considering God’s timeline for fulfilling promises, it should come as no surprise that the goal of our obedience may be rather long-term in fulfillment.
A. Raising Children
1. Ephesians 6:4; Proverbs 22:6
We understand our obligations as mothers and fathers to teach our children the Lord’s nurture and His admonition. Yet, it becomes exhausting. We forget that training our children is meant to produce adults who are steadfast, not just children who are immediately perfect.
2. Proverbs 23:13-14; Hebrews 12:11
We so dislike inflicting pain on our own young that we hesitate to practice corporal punishment as God directed. We find that one child misbehaves more than the rest, and is therefore getting so many more whoopings than his or her siblings, so not wanting to single that one out, we lighten up. Or, we spank, scold, and withhold privileges, but notice no immediate effect; misbehavior continues. Exasperated, we think: “None of this works!” We give up on child discipline because we are impatient, thus guaranteeing the result that proper discipline was meant to prevent. Instead, we should trust the steady application of what God prescribed to eventually yield His intended results, even if it takes a lifetime to recognize. “Afterwards” it yields the peaceable fruit!
B. Disciplining Brethren
1. 2nd Thessalonians 3:6, 14
God clearly intends for Christians to avoid their fellow members whose behavior is out of line with the gospel, but that is very hard to do, especially for those disciples personally related to the wayward member. We may try it, withdrawing ourselves for a couple months, but when the sinning brother doesn’t repent right away, we give in, concluding it just doesn’t work. What we overlook is that one major purpose of not keeping company with the disobedient is to put that one to shame. That takes time. Our wild inconsistence – withdrawing one month, but hanging out together the next – cannot possibly produce shame on the part of the sinner. Quite the opposite happens; that one will think we’re the ones ashamed of trying the Lord’s discipline since we obviously wouldn’t stick with it.
2. 1st Corinthians 5:1-11
When we stop keeping company with the immoral brother, the purpose is to save his soul in judgment by handing him over to Satan now, thereby indicating whom he really belongs to. That message must be clear, and stringently applied, or it will be meaningless.
3. 2nd John 10-11
Even if we don’t win back the one we’ve marked, at least we can keep ourselves pure by maintaining distance. One way or another, God’s precepts concerning brotherly discipline will work if we actually obey.
C. Defeating Temptation
1. Mark 14:38; Galatians 5:17
We are intellectually aware of the immorality of drinking or drugs, the sinfulness of fornication, the iniquity of pornography, the wickedness of homosexuality, and so on, but emotionally there is a disconnect. We can’t seem to stop these evil habits. We try to suppress these urges, but they persist. So, we begin to rationalize, thinking God wouldn’t allow me to feel this way so strongly if it was wrong. We forget that the spirit and the flesh will always be struggling. That is the war our Captain has mustered us for.
2. 1st Corinthians 10:13
We forget that God limits Satan as to how much he can tempt us, ensuring that what the devil throws down is never more than we can overcome. In other words, God believes in us. Even when we don’t believe in our own selves, God believes we are able to resist the temptation!
D. Ordaining Elders
1. Titus 1:5-9; 1st Timothy 3:1-7, 11
We grasp that, as a church without elders, we are incomplete, so elders need to be installed. However, those qualifications are so very limiting – character, experience, ability, circumstance. Few, if any, could ever meet those criteria. So, we allow ourselves to think maybe we don’t need elders so much, after all. We’re getting along fine without them now. Or, perhaps, we do need them, but it’s okay if a candidate doesn’t quite measure up to the ideal.
2. Matthew 9:36; Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17
The Lord sorrows for sheep that are not being herded. Accordingly, in the church He bought with His blood, His Holy Spirit has made certain ones to be overseers who shepherd the flock. These overseers are accountable for the souls of others. This can’t be unimportant.
3. Hebrews 8:4; 7:14
Qualifications really do matter! Even Jesus was disqualified from priesthood under the Old Covenant.
E. Winning Souls
1. Acts 2:40-41; 4:4
We notice how thousands at a time obeyed the gospel in the earliest days of the church’s existence, but whereas one exhortation preached then yielded three thousand conversions, we’re finding it takes three thousand exhortations preached to convert just one soul now. We assume we need to alter our approach
2. 1st Corinthians 2:1-6; 11:22, 34
We try to enhance the message, making it more dynamic, more exciting, but the perfect gospel cannot be improved upon, only perverted. We figure we need to engage the community more socially, incorporating food and fun into the work of the church, but that is not the church’s role, not what Jesus shed His blood for!
3. 2nd Peter 2:5; Genesis 6:3
We overlook the fact that, though he had 120 years in which to preach, Noah was saved along with only seven others, all members of his family. There was nothing missing from Noah’s preaching, but receptivity in the hearts of those to whom he preached.
A. Isaiah 55:8-9; Jeremiah 10:23
God’s ways are simply superior to our own. We should trust Him accordingly.
B. James 5:8; Psalm 27:14; Isaiah 40:31
Can we be patient? Will we wait on Jehovah to accomplish His will in His own way?
C. In HIS Time
In His time, In His Time
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Lord please show me every day
As You're teaching me Your way
That You do just what You say
In Your time.
In Your time, In Your Time
You make all things beautiful in Your time.
Lord my life to You I bring
May each song I have to sing
Be to you a lovely thing
In Your time.
By Bryan Matthew Dockens
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