At just the right time - Part Two
Happy New Year! May this year bring us closer to God and to His purpose for our lives. A new year encourages us to look at the use of our time.
Last week, we looked at God's sovereign timing and how His timing is at work in all our lives. Today, we continue to look at how God schedules everything. With Him, things are not accidental or incidental. While we may be satisfied with how we spent some of our time, we can also experience some regret and disappointment with how we have seen things turn out. But God is a God of timing.
Let's look again at Galatians 4:4-5 NIV where Paul says, "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons."
The birth of Jesus sends us a message for Christmas as well as the new year about God's timing. Jesus' birth illustrated three things about His perfect timing.
I. It was just the right time historically
a. God used the Greeks to create a common language.
When the Greeks conquered the world, the Greek language became the universal language. Everybody knew a little Greek and God used this universal language to let everyone hear about the birth of Jesus.
b. God then used the Romans to bring about Peace, a single government and roads
In 63 BC, the Romans conquered the Greeks. Under Roman rule, there was a single government, 'Pax Romana' [Roman peace], and a safe road system. So, the disciples of Jesus were free to travel the known world with the Gospel.
By the time Jesus was born, there was an effective way to communicate to the known world (the Greek language) and an effective way for the message to be spread (Roman roads).
God's perfect timing was also displayed because:
II. It was just the right time nationally.
There was a hunger for national identity and expectations for the Messiah had never been greater.
The Jewish people were ready for a change. They were tired of their oppressors having moved from Babylonian to Persian to Greek to Roman domination. They'd had enough. They were ready for their Great Prince and hero who would lead them to victory. The Saviour or Messiah would answer these questions for the Jews.
Have you been going through so many changes that you are tired of being tired? Sometimes it may be one success after another that still leaves you feeling aimless and asking, "What is it all for?" Or, have you ever been at a place in your life where you knew that God was up to something and you looked forward to what He was going to do because you knew that things could not remain as they were.
That kind of anticipation usually opens our minds and spirits to what comes next.
For the Jews:
III. It was just the right time spiritually because they needed to be redeemed and this kind of help came.
Because of what had happened and what was happening in the historic and national life of the Jews, they recognised that they needed God. They had come to recognise that they were just as helpless in their spiritual lives, as they were in their physical lives. Their actions had caused them to be in slavery or exile. They were lost and needed help - the help of a Saviour.
Fortunately, God intervened in history, to reach a nation, and to reach the world. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:16 NIV).
This great Christmas story tells us that God is not interested in our condemnation. He is interested in our rescue. In the same way that God worked through Israel's history to create the best environment for the birth of His Son, so He works in our personal history to create the best environment for Him to enter our lives. God uses your history - good and bad, recent and long past, convenient and inconvenient - to prepare the way for an encounter with Jesus.
We should understand that nothing stays the same. Doors open and doors close. Options today become non-negotiables tomorrow. No wonder the Bible says, "Seek the Lord while He may be found ..." (Isaiah 55:6 NKJV) because when God speaks, you don't want to miss the moment. Is this the moment where you reach out and touch God and God touches you?