Through all the changing scenes of life.. in trouble or in joy
The praises of my God shall still, my heart and tongue employ.
O magnify the Lord with me, with me exult His name
When in distress to Him I called He to my rescue came.
From the beginning these little daily devotionals have sought to dwell on Christ alone. Many have been on trust and love.. on hope and peace, and on patient endurance. Many has been on right thinking, right attitudes, right expectations, a right focus.. the need to take heed of scripture day by day, lest we slip and fall – preparing ourselves for His soon return and our spiritual growth. Many have been on our position in Christ rather than the circumstances of life; looking away from the world and looking to the Lord Jesus Christ. Living by faith which comes from hearing and not by sight or signs or dreams – putting off the old man in Adam and putting on the new man in Christ – recognising our heavenly home is a greater reality that this sin-sick, cursed world. Many such writings have been on waiting – waiting God’s time and waiting God’s way.
Today, I look back to a specific man – a man who exemplified and lived a life of trust. A man who waited God’s time. We read the following in Luke 2:26 and it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. It is a truly fearful thing for anyone to see death before seeing Christ Jesus. Death is a fearful thing. It is the portal that will usher everyone into God’s presence. But for aged Simeon, death was no future, fretful fear for he had a promise.. that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”. Luke 2:22-26
His eyes were illuminated by Christ – before death seized its prey. He was to see the Consolation of Israel.. the Saviour of mankind. And from the moment he received the Spirit illumined pledge to see the Anointed – Simeon knew. Simeon had hope in his heart that his promised pledge would come to pass. By faith, Simeon knew that he would not see death, until….. His future held no fear and each day that passed he must have thought, 'is it today…?'
Few have received such an astonishing promise, but those who did receive such a pledge, had to accept it, unquestioningly by faith.. by faith. Enoch was translated that he should not see death Heb.11:5. Elijah also knew, from the Spirit, that his transport awaited him – by faith. And he was able, through the Spirit’s leading to grant his young disciples request.. for Elijah said: "if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so.” 2Kings 2:10 your request shall be answered. By faith Enoch, Elijah, Simeon believed the promise and lived in expectant waiting. Enoch waited his translation. Elijah waited his transport and Simeon waited to see the Lord’s Christ. Enoch waited over 400 years and Simeon waited for the rest of his life. Their promise was given, accepted, believed and they waited – they waited in humble anticipation.
Were these men discouraged as time passed? Did the passing of time raise questions as to, when Lord? When? None of these men sat twiddling thumbs as they waited for the promised blessing. Scripture reveals they were men of God, who knew God and who believed His Word. The Bible indicates that they were all men of prayer; men of praise; men of faith. Above all, it shows they were men who waited on God, and waited His timing.
Many Christians believe the Lord’s return is very close.. even at the very door. Many have expected His return based on calculations designed by their own imaginings. Many sought answers in many places, through many teachings with many tears. Many have set dates in the coming year – or in a future year yet to be identified. Many have simply changed their mind or altered their eschatological thinking. Many have become discouraged – bemoaning that: the Lord delays His coming.
But it is we, not the Lord, that cry and bemoan such delays.. for God has promised: for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. The Lord has indeed ‘tarried’ as men consider tarrying. He’s tarried for 2000 years.. and yes– it is hard to wait… it is very hard to wait. Yet the writer to the Hebrews tells us plainly: for yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Heb.10:37
If scripture contradicts itself in this point, then it cannot be trusted in any point. The overall message from Genesis to Revelation it that God takes His time.. which may seem an eternity to His creatures, but it is all part of His eternal plan. God takes His time for a purpose – not as a cruel trick or a mean manipulation. God is not tarrying in the way that He considers tarrying, for God has a purpose. The Lord is not slack or slow: "for yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Heb.10:37
Throughout Scripture, we see that God has His appointed times and He will not fail. So why this apparent contradiction? Why does He seem to be tarrying in this increasingly evil world? Well – what of that beloved pig-headed, prodigal son or that lovely lost daughter? What of that precious parent or that dearly loved, lost friend… that nasty neighbour? What of the healing, correcting, maturing work He is carrying out in your life? And what of the healing and correcting and maturing He is doing in mine? "Could ye not watch with Me.. could ye not intercede with me on their behalf one brief span?"
I believe, with all my heart that in the fullness of time we will understand why the Bridegroom ‘tarried’… for we know that all things work together for good to those that love God. All things – even things we don’t understand and the things that grieve us: all things; ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Rom.8:28. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to US-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
The hosts of God encamp around the dwellings of the just,
deliverance he affords to ALL who on His succour trust.
O make but trial of His love
experience will decide how blest are they,
and only they who in His truth confide.
Fear him, ye saints, and you will then have nothing else to fear;
make you His service your delight; your wants shall be His care.
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