Do you have a habit of putting things off? Are you given to delayed responses? Doing the right thing when it suits you and not when it should be done? Do you stick your finger in the wind to make a decision? Do you obey God’s Word only as it’s convenient for you? It’s only a matter of time until you find yourself wanting to make it up to God, only to find out that He’s moved on. The children of Israel learned this lesson the hard way, and since they’re our examples we will too, if we choose not to move with His timing.
“Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” But the men who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.””
Numbers 13:30-31 NKJV
“and they spoke to all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying: “The land we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us, ‘a land which flows with milk and honey.’ And all the congregation said to stone them with stones. Now the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of meeting before all the children of Israel. Then the Lord said to Moses: “How long will these people reject Me? And how long will they not believe Me, with all the signs which I have performed among them? Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word; but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord— because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it. According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection. I the Lord have spoken this. I will surely do so to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.’ ” Then Moses told these words to all the children of Israel, and the people mourned greatly. And they rose early in the morning and went up to the top of the mountain, saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised, for we have sinned!” And Moses said, “Now why do you transgress the command of the Lord? For this will not succeed. Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you shall fall by the sword; because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.” But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp.”
Numbers 14:7-8, 10-11, 20-23, 34-35, 39-44 NKJV
My dear friends, timing is everything with God. I’ll repeat what I wrote. Timing is everything with God. We live by Kronos time but God who sees the end from the beginning doesn’t operate by a timepiece on His wrist. Here on earth we have a saying: “Strike while the iron is hot.” Meaning move when opportunity comes. Delay for us is deadly, especially when the hot iron is God Almighty. We don’t get to tell God, “later.” In order for the children of Israel to have success they had to move when the Ark moved, stand still when it did, and take possession when God said so. If He was saying move now, that meant He had already set everything in place. Scouting the land was for their benefit. God already knew what was there. He told them when Moses showed up in Egypt, what His intentions were. To see what you’ve been given and delay taking it is a missed opportunity for the procrastinator.
I encourage you to reread those two chapters. You don’t get to have a change of heart after God has made a final decision. We don’t get to choose the consequences for our disobedience. We don’t get to decide when it’s the right time to be obedient. When God speaks the time to move is now. It’s amazing how we’ll do everything a man tells us, no question or hesitation, to earn a paycheck. But when God gives a directive we push back. We want proof that it will work. Knowing the voice of God should be a priority in the life of every believer. Obeying the voice of God should be top priority in the life of the believer. Some people are never late for work, never taking a day off unless forced to. I worked with people like that. But they’ll show up late to church every week, take a sick day on God when they feel like it and wonder why they’re missing God opportunities. He’s moved on.
These complainers heard what God had decided to do about their bad mouthing Him, and decided that they now wanted to go take the land. But there was a problem-God had moved on. Forty days turned into forty years. See Morning Messages May 14, 2021. Moses tried to tell them that the dye had been cast, God wasn’t with them, delayed obedience was dead on arrival, they were marching to their deaths. But they thought their change of heart would twist God’s arm and change His decision. Nothing doing. The timing of God did not allow for man’s “I’m ready to go now” argument. They wouldn’t listen. Fear of the inevitable led them farther away from God to their utter defeat.
Wondering why you’re working twice as hard and nothing is working? Timing. Wondering why you’re still at the same place doing the same thing, making the same dumb mistakes? Timing. Things seem held back? Timing. What have you been doing with the finances you’ve been given? Leaving God out for years but now wanting instant success. God told you to give, but like the spies you saw the promises of God but chose fear over tithing. God warned you about that relationship before you got into it. You called it a blessing and ignored His voice. Now you’re living a nightmare. Timing. I can come up with multiple examples of the excuses we’ve made when we don’t want to obey God in the moment. In the purview of His timing, I’ll say it again. We may choose to do whatever we want, but we don’t choose the consequences.
Those men thought they could now take matters into their own hands. They had sinned, truly stated. But now they were about to compound the sin. They refused to listen to Caleb and Joshua, they totally ignored Moses. Not to mention that they hadn’t even repented in the way the Lord commanded Moses for sin offerings. They said “here we are, we’re ready to obey.”Don’t we do that with God at times? True repentance is not arrogant. Crying because you’re wanting to avoid the consequences isn’t repentance. Judas did that. He wanted a do over, but timing wasn’t on his side. He fulfilled what was written about him. These men ended up fulfilling what God had said about them. They could go the forty year route or speed it up by going into battle without God. But the Word of the Lord stands.
What has the Lord instructed you to do and you have been putting off obeying Him? Who has He told you to help and you’re looking at your situation trying to talk yourself out of obeying Him? What medical emergency are you dealing with today, that He told you to take care of a while ago? What warnings of His have you been ignoring? Timing. Not time, is of the essence. Your outcome will be determined by your obedience NOW. Not later, not when you get around to it, not when you feel like it, not when it’s feasible, not when it’s comfortable. NOW. Move while He’s moving. The promised land is for those who say “let us go up at once and take possession!” The promises are for those who are willing and obedient. To delay is to deny yourself. He doesn’t deny us, He has made the provision and the way. Will you obey now, or make your way later? Proverbs 13:15
Ponder your decisions and actions toward your Heavenly Father. Is it one of trust and obedience or is it unbelief and delay? Timing is His gift to us. For a day with the Lord is like a thousand and a thousand as one day. That’s why He’s never late. So when He says move, It’s timeless and purposeful, and it’s imperative that we obey at once. In life when we miss a train we wait for the next one. But you’re still late. It pays to be on the Lord’s schedule, you’re guaranteed to arrive right on time, always in the right place at the right timing.
I’ll close with Samuel’s words to king Saul.
“But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to His voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.”
1 Samuel 15:22 NLT
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
January 28, 2022