Greg Laurie is the author of 12 inspirational books, which are available online.
Has it ever seemed like God has let you down?
That He failed to come through for you in your hour of need? That He somehow forgot about you or that He was simply too late? One of the reasons for this, of course, is that we all live on schedules.
We govern our lives by the clock.and we expect God to synchronize His watch with ours. (”What time do You have, Lord? I’ve got five minutes after the hour.”) After all, you check in at work and leave at a certain time. You eat your meals at a certain time. You go to class or keep your appointments at a certain time. You even live out the years of your life for a certain amount of time. And far, far too often, we spend those precious hours of our lives on time-consuming non-essentials. Here’s what I mean. In a lifetime, the average American will spend:
- six months sitting at traffic lights waiting for them to change
- one year searching through desk clutter looking for misplaced objects.
- eight months opening junk mail
- two years trying to call people who aren’t in or whose line is busy
- five years waiting in lines
- three years in meetings
- countless hours learning how to operate 20,000 different things, from pop machines to can openers to digital radio controls.
In addition, the average American will:
- commute forty-five minutes every day
- receive 600 advertising messages every day (including television, .newspapers, magazines, radio, billboards)
- watch 1,700 hours of television every year
- open 600 pieces of mail every year.
That, my friend, is a lot of wasted time! God, of course, is not bound by our time zones, time limitations, and time restrictions. He lives above all of that, in Eternity. He has His own schedule, and He is never late. (Don’t you hate it when people are?) He is always right on time. Scripture tells us, ”He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Consider the story of the Israelite nation crossing the Red Sea. Moses had demanded the release of the captive Israelites from Egypt time and time again, but the Pharaoh resisted, making their slave existence even harder than ever. Finally, after God’s judgment fell (and fell and fell and fell), Pharaoh relented and let the people go. Joy filled their hearts as they began their massive exodus out of Egypt, on their way to a wonderful Promised Land. But soon they realized a major obstacle was before them – the Red Sea. Now what? Were they trapped? Where was God? Was He going to show up on time?
The Bible says, ”Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side!” (Exodus 14:21, nlt). No one had ever seen anything like it! An ocean, parting down the middle? A dry pathway through the very midst of the sea, with huge walls of hovering water on each side? Who could pull that off but Almighty God? Just before the sea had parted, however, the people were in a panic. The sea was before them, and behind them the Egyptian army, spears and swords glinting in the sunlight, was thundering toward them in their chariots. As the enemy drew closer and closer, the people of God thought all was lost. But then God came through. And guess when? ”During the last watch of the night (Or the ”fourth watch”) the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. Their chariot wheels began to come off, making their chariots impossible to drive. ‘Let’s get out of here!’ the Egyptians shouted. ‘The Lord is fighting for Israel against us!’” (Exodus 14:24).
Then the waters closed back in, drowning the entire Egyptian army.
The Fourth Watch. The last minute.
As we look at the global terrorism and the current unrest in the Middle East,we wonder,”Is this a sign of the times, that Jesus is coming back?” I believe it is and we should all be paying careful attention.
For clearly one of the ”super-signs” of the last days is a hostility against the regathered nation of Israel, just like we are seeing on the front pages of our news (See Ezekiel 37-39). Some would laugh at such an idea and reply, ”I’ve been hearing about Jesus returning my whole life! So,where is He?”
The Apostle Peter mentioned that very viewpoint when he wrote:
First, I want to remind you that in the last days there will be scoffers who will laugh at the truth and do every evil thing they desire. This will be their argument: ”Jesus promised to come back, did he? Then where is he? Why, as far back as anyone can remember, everything has remained exactly the same since the world was first created.”
The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent (2 Peter 3:3-4, 9, nlt).
Does it seem late to you right now? It does to me.
Listen to what the Bible says about that (Romans 13:12):
“The night is nearly over, the day has almost dawned, let us therefore fling away the things that men do in the dark! Let us arm ourselves for the fight of the day. Let us live cleanly, as in the daylight, not in the ”delights” of getting drunk or playing with sex nor in quarreling or jealousies. Let us be Christ’s men from head to foot and give no chances to the flesh to have it’s fling!”
Remember, the Fourth Watch is that time right before the rising of the sun. He is coming again, and He is right on time.
I heard the story of a little boy who was visiting his grandparents’
house and was lying on the living room floor playing with his toys.
There in the front room was a large, old-fashioned grandfather clock. Noontime was getting close and, as he always did, the little boy counted the chimes until it hit 12. On this particular day, however, something malfunctioned inside the clock’s inner mechanism. Instead of stopping at 12, it kept right on chiming, 13-14-15-16 times. The boy couldn’t believe his ears! He jumped to his feet and ran into the kitchen, shouting, ”Grandma! Grandma! It’s later than it’s ever been before!”
And so it is. It’s never been this ”late” in the history of our troubled planet. We’ve never been closer to the darkest of nights or the brightest of dawns.