God’s Timing – Scripture Dissection

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God's Timing - Scripture Dissection
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Surely you’ve wondered at least once – “what’s the deal with God’s timing?!” He seems to be on a completely different time schedule. Admit it with me: there are times you’ve wondered when God is going to answer your prayers. Whether it’s personal or global tragedies that happen without warning, waiting years for God’s intervention in a difficulty, healing a relationship, providing for a need, or personal matters of the heart – all certainly involve God’s timing.

Tear Into It – God’s Timing

First, I suggest – take a look at Tear Into It. That article explains how and why we introduce Scripture dissection exercises every few weeks in our article rotation.

To tear into “God’s Timing,” let’s look at 1 Kings 18. Look it up and read in your Bible. For this content’s purposes, here’s a bullet backstory of developments in my own words.

 

1 Kings 18:1-19

  • Three words set the stage – “After many days” – of famine. In fact, three years. That’s a lot – 1095 days.
  • God tells Elijah to come out of hiding from King Ahab and confront him. So, Elijah heads right to Ahab – who has called for Elijah’s head. (RISK)
  • Incidentally, it’s God’s timing to now end the famine. And He wants Elijah to tell King Ahab.
  • Meanwhile, Ahab summons Obadiah (very faithful follower of God). Keep in mind, Obadiah hid one hundred prophets of God in caves and fed them when Queen Jezebel ordered execution of all God’s prophets. And now, Ahab summons Obadiah? What’s going on? (RISK)
  • However, Ahab has a different issue in mind. He wants to divide the land – Obadiah taking half and himself the other half to hunt for springs and grazing for horses and mules. Ahab is salvaging what’s left during this terrible famine.
  • Obadiah runs into Elijah (imagine that!) as he surveys his half of assigned territory.
  • Obadiah recognizes the great, senior prophet. Face-to-the-ground, “Is it really you?”
  • Elijah says the unthinkable – “Yes, and tell Ahab – I’m back!”

 

But The BackStory Continues

  • Panicky, Obadiah searches his heart, and blurts out – “What sin have I committed that you are ready to hand me over to Ahab?” (v. 9) You see, Obadiah knows Elijah is on Ahab’s “hit list.” He’s thinking – “This must be a trick! What have I done to deserve this? I’ve been faithful to God. Ahab wants Elijah’s head, searching everywhere for him. But Elijah wants me to tell Ahab – Elijah is back! And after I tell Ahab that message – Elijah will disappear! I’m dead!” (Huge RISK) (Sounds like a trailer to a movie.)
  • Elijah calms Obadiah’s fears, “As certainly as the Lord of Heaven’s Armies lives (whom I serve), I will make an appearance before him today.” (v. 15) I won’t disappear.
  • So, Obadiah swallows, turns around, and finds King Ahab to say – Elijah’s back. (RISK)
  • Ahab and Elijah meet (RISK for Elijah). First words out of Ahab’s mouth are something like – “You!! The one who brings disaster on Israel . . .” (v. 17 – famine)
  • But Elijah is not to be outdone. He comes back to the king with courage and truth. “I haven’t brought disaster on Israel. You have, worshipping idols.” (v. 18) (RISK)
  • Elijah commands King Ahab to gather Israel, 450 prophets of Baal, 400 more prophets of Asherah (Jezebel’s pals) at Mount Carmel. BTW: that’s lots of prophets. (RISK – Telling the King what and how to do it. Not knowing God’s full plan yet.)

 

Now Let’s Dissect – God’s Timing

As we mentioned in Tear Into It – our introduction article to Scripture dissection, we will always engage four focuses. Again, I encourage you to go back to that material to see how we plan to tear into Scripture and bring out practical lessons for every day.

  1. What Does It Say?
  2. What Does It Mean?
  3. Make It Personal.
  4. Make A Commitment.

 

1. What Does It Say?

This Scripture starts with the “in-your-face” reality that God has His own timing, and it’s strategic – even brilliant.

  • God has timing for everything – blessings, events, punishments, relationships, and so on. Nothing catches Him by surprise.
  • He wants His children to trust and obey Him even when they are afraid and don’t know what’s ahead.
  • There are many times God asks His children to take risks – and He rewards those who do.
  • God always works to encourage and bless His people.
  • This backstory development shows God is strategic and creative. One could add He also has a good sense of humor. For example, having frightened Obadiah tell King Ahab – Elijah is back! And having Elijah tell the King what to do and how. Circumstances like that show God’s sense of humor.
  • God invites people to join Hm to confront what opposes His ways.
  • While people are trying to salvage their own kingdom, power, and resources, God is busy working to salvage people.

 

2. What Does It Mean?

“After many days” is a common condition people find themselves in as they cry out to God for help. Additionally, folks may not know the details and the “behind-the-scenes” issues associated with desperate requests. But God knows all this.

Some people accuse God of not caring, not being engaged – in fact, not being real. Nevertheless, their opinion does not change what is true. God is real and involved.

2 Pet. 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you . . .”  God proves continually how deeply He cares for humanity, for each individual, for you! He’s strongly concerned about those who don’t know Him yet. And even those who deny or have rejected Him. That’s pretty stunning.

God’s loving motives are intertwined in His timing. And God asks you to take RISKS.

3. Make It Personal

So, where do you slice into this scenario? Identify something you are waiting for God’s timing. Now consider these ideas.

  1. Even when you haven’t received an answer yet, God continually interfaces in your life. That’s encouraging.
  2. While you wait, God loves you and is very close. Do you take time to enjoy Him daily as you wait?
  3. When the time is right, God does what only He can do. Rejoice whether it’s simple – or a miracle!
  4. With inside information and knowledge of details you don’t have – His compassion and patience (perhaps even as you suffer) are working on your behalf and for His glory. Are you eager to participate in God’s timing?

 

Over your years, you have opportunities to be a credible picture of God’s great heart – a rare privilege. God treasures when His children rest in His timing, love, and strategy. Here are three things you can do:

  1. Trust Him deeply.
  2. Obey Him severely.
  3. Love Him passionately.

 

Those Three Descriptive Words

One of the best ways to understand those three commands is to drill down into the adverbs. I’m talking about the words “deeply, severely, and passionately.” Let’s get some definitions and then discuss on the other side.

  1. Deeply to a thorough extent or profound degree, with great cunning, skill, and subtlety.
  2. Severely to a grave, far-reaching, or critical degree, in a very simple, plain, or austere manner.
  3. Passionately in a way that’s driven by intense feeling or strong conviction; with enthusiasm and eagerness; wholeheartedly.

 

Three Good Responses To God’s Timing

So, taking those three adverbs we defined and paired with the three commands, let’s look at where you’ve parked in those three responses.

  1. Do you trust God to a thorough extent? Is your faith in Him drilled down to a profound degree? Further, do you engage great artful patience, skill, and distinction as you wait for His timing?
  2. How severely do you obey God? Even if it hurts? Is your follow-through serious, far-reaching, unchanging resolve – just because you believe God? What about a simple, sober, unflinching resolve to please Him through obedience?
  3. Is your love for God driven by intense, strong conviction? Do you delight in Him with enthusiasm? Do you choose to draw close to Him with eagerness to know Him better. Have you given your life to Him wholeheartedly, not holding anything back?

 

Consequently, those who fear the Lord like Obadiah and Elijah prove their trust, obedience, and love for God. Obadiah faithfully did this, taking great risks at his own expense. Hiding prophets and feeding them while Jezebel hunted them was risky. So, what risks are you taking to prove you –

  1. Trusting Him deeply.
  2. Obeying Him severely.
  3. Loving Him passionately.

 

Do you pass the test like Obadiah? Do you trust, obey, and love God in the face of your fears, even when you know a situation could go sideways?

4. Make A Commitment – Application Thoughts And Questions

It seems reasonable to believe God and obey Him FIRST . . . and then to look for His involvement NEXT. God has already proved His love for you – deeply, severely, passionately – through Christ’s cross. It’s your turn to decide what kind of adverbs you will attach to your love back to God.

  1. What is your response to God’s love? His timing? His strategy in your life?
  2. Are you staying inside faithfulness like Obadiah did?
  3. Do you trust God deeply?
  4. Do you obey Him severely?
  5. And do you love Him passionately?
  6. Take inventory of your heart. How much RISK are you willing to take to be faithful to God?
  7. Are you aware that by taking a stand similar to Obadiah and Elijah, you open a door in your life to comfort and joy?

 

POINT Notice we haven’t even gotten to God’s resolution of the famine . . . yet. It’s coming.

 

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Visit our website for resources to get into God’s Word and live an Alive and Active Life.

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