There’s a portion of one verse in the book of Esther that seems to get quoted and used all the time, and it is about TIME. The Jewish people were doomed to destruction by the Persians (go figure) and Esther the babe was in the king’s harem, in a remarkably safe place for a Jewess. Her uncle Mordecai was wanting to encourage her that she needed to take a stand for her people, risk her life by entering, uninvited, into the king’s presence, and petitioning for the cause of the Jews. Mordecai succeeded, and so we still have Jews. That is a good thing. Meanwhile, here’s the verse (I’m only citing the second half of v14):
14 “…..Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
The Hebrew word for TIME is neither CHRONOS (progression of time) nor KAIROS (set event of time). It is ET – and it implies a season, often long due.
Because of all that is occurring in the world right now, we are hearing that verse cited almost too frequently. But it does fit, and it does work. Time and timing are key factors to the structure of the creation and purposes of God. He sets things in order, and in HIS time things are appropriate, even when the things might not, by themselves (and viewed as stand-alone sequences), appear “appropriate” – and certainly the “things” of God many times fail to meet the criteria of being politically correct. God has a way of purposely, divinely, interrupting the status quo. Burning bushes, tiles removed from a rooftop to interrupt a sermon for a healing to occur. David called God ‘Baal Perazim’. Master (or lord) of multiple break-throughs. Divine interruptions. Glorious, always. Sometimes not what we might want, or expect, but the purposes of heaven, nonetheless. In His time.
Solomon goes so far as to tell us that (Eccl 3 – well sung by the Byrds in the ’60’s) that there’s time for war as well as peace, tearing down as well as building up, killing as well as healing. WHAT? A time for killing? Are we nuts here? Isn’t this the God who said “Thou shall not kill?”. Firstly, He commanded “thou shall not murder”. There’s lots of killing in the Bible. He is the God of life and death. We are going to have to adjust our God-lens so that we align with God. He will not align with us. It just works that way. In fact we are guaranteed to be offended until such time as we are aligned with God, and with His word. This is one (of many) reason(s) that the enemy works so proactively to persuade the church to buy into sweet and soft doctrines that discount the fullness of the revelation of Scripture. It occurred in the Old Testament. It occurred during the time of our Lord in Jerusalem. It occurs today. Personally, my human nature would much prefer an easier gospel than the one our great God has presented to us as THE gospel. That is not my sober choice, however.
Back to TIME: When Jesus came to this earth as a Man, according to the prophecies of Daniel and in the most proper time, for the most folks who were responsible to read and understand the word of God failed to identify their own Messiah. Some folks did, so it is obvious that SOMETHING about Jesus evidenced His divinity. But the religious folks were so wrapped around their religious teachings that they could not receive that which they thought they were looking for. And God has always chosen to carefully and skillfully, beyond the capability of any man (and especially beyond the combined capabilities of many men, writing over centuries!) to mask His word and its truths – so that the religious, the goofy, the proud, the argumentative, and the casual, will all stumble.
God, in His wonderful way, chose to present to His chosen people THE STONE – both the chief cornerstone and the stumbling block, all gloriously packaged together, and presented to the people of God, and the world, as the man Christ Jesus, who apparently was a plain looking Jewish guy who was not much to look at. Nothing physical would be present to draw people to Him. This was not going to be a height and beauty contest, King Saul revisited. Behold: The strapping dude. Or Absalom and his lovely locks. This was going to be about the inner man.
THE STEPPING STONE – Isa 28:14-17
14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scornful men, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem,
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, it will not come to us, for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.”
16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily.
17 Also I will make justice the measuring line, and righteousness the plummet; the hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters will overflow the hiding place.
THE STUMBLING BLOCK – Isa 8:13-16
13 The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread.
14 He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken.”
16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.
Both of those words are from Isaiah. The rabbis loved Isaiah. They read Isaiah. Still do.
So all this said, Jesus came into the world in a special and particular time, loving the sick and the sinful, the corrupt and the broken. The religious hypocrites were the only ones spoken to harshly, although they obviously required that strong word, because of the hardness of their hearts. In reality, it was the will of God for them to repent, and for salvation to come even to them. No one is ever placed on earth for destruction.
29 And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John.
30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.
Meanwhile, Jesus appeared on earth, as a Man, 2,000 years ago, fulfilling some but not all of the scriptures regarding Messiah. Most, quite frankly, are reserved for His imminent second coming. And in His rebuke of the religious for not being able to discern the signs of their times, He of course casts His eyes upon all of His people, through the centuries, and challenges us with that same point – will we be the ones who are deep in Him, deep in His word, and deep in the understanding that we are both called and accountable to discern the signs of the times. This is about a Spirit-led, Spirit-enabled, Spirit-receptive life. God is Spirit, and that is the only way to worship Him. Spirit and Truth. Never contradicting one another, always complementing one another.
God is inviting us to go deep, in Him. To identify the times, to identify that which is of Him and also that which is not of Him. He has always, and will always, hold His people quite accountable to be in His word, understanding and pondering, discerning and accepting revealed truth – which is guaranteed to war against a world of noise – both religious as well as secular.
God calls us to go deep. Historically, the ones who received revelation and accomplished much for the Kingdom of God were always those who made the ongoing choice to go deep. Jesus gave all. He asks all of us. Not much else will really matter. He made a way for us to come into deep and intimate relationship with Himself and the Father. The Holy Spirit, much maligned and misunderstood IN THE CHURCH, has been sent here for the divine purposes of instructing us and revealing to us the specific and timely will of heaven. How we receive and respond is totally up to us.
No one – no person, no creature, no anything, nothing created, nothing formed, no demon, no situation, no torture, no disease, no situation, nothing, zero, nada, can pull you out of the hands of God. Only you can do that – through negligent heart-hardening, through unbelief, by making ongoing determinations to depart from the living God, you can screw up your relationship with God, thoroughly. Paul warned every man. God never changes and sadly man’s make-up hasn’t either. This will be a more complete thought, for another day.
Till then, be blessed in the name of Jesus. Such a time as this. We’re in it, folks. Exciting days.
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