Sunday, January 1, 2017
Discerning the Times
UV 2162/10000 Discerning the Times
My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.
Psalm 31 v 15
It is not for us to decide the time set for different events and milestones in our own lives, let alone in the world. It is the Lord who decides the times and seasons. It is His sovereign power and domain. Jesus had a clear sense of the timing of the Father. At times, He said, “ my hour has not yet come.” Then, when He discerned the time for His arrest, mock trial and crucifixion had come, He said, “ The hour for my departure has come.” Just before His arrest in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “ Father, the hour is come: glorify your Son, even as your Son glorifies You.” The manger leader or manager develops this sense of divine timing- the clock and calendar according to which the Lord works in this world. He tries to synchronise his activities and mind to this clock. He develops godly patience or the patience of Jesus. He knows that there are times and seasons of great pain in life which he has to endure and that there are times of joy and pleasure in life that he can enjoy. He also knows that there are eternal and timeless pleasures in the presence of the Lord. The presence of the Lord acts as an anaesthesia or balm of Gilead to either cure the pain or help him endure it.
We need to discern the times and seasons: the time set for sowing the Word of hope, the word of gladness, the word of encouragement, the word of discipline, the word of gratitude, the word of blessing. The time set for reaping hope, gladness, encouragement, discipline, gratitude and blessing. The time set for building and the time set for breaking down. The time set for joy and the time set for repentance and godly sorrow. The time set for celebration and the time set for labour and sacrifice. The time set for receiving and the time set for giving. The prophet Elijah admonished his manager, Gehazi who went secretly to collect a reward from the Syrian general Namaan, : “ Is this the time to receive a reward?” There is a time for speaking and a time to remain silent.
There are also times in life when the manger leader or manager faces troubles and difficulties placed deliberately by those who oppose his values and beliefs. During these troubled times, the Lord promises to deliver him from the unjust and devious who are more powerful or stronger than him. He would do it sometimes by extricating him from the situation as He did in the life of St Paul or at times by turning the tables as He did in the case of Mordecai vs Haman. Mordecai took the place of honour and authority next to the king in place of Haman and Haman took the place of Mordecai in having his head place in th
e hangman’s noose that he had prepared for Mordecai. The question may arise : Did the Father save His Son from His persecutors? Behind the jesting and vacillating Pilate and the scheming Pharisees and fickle mob that bayed for Jesus’ life stood the evil one. The evil one instigated these agents to conspire to have Jesus killed unjustly. Jesus was given over for a one time separation from the Father’s presence and glory, tremendous suffering, seeming shame and great pain by His death on the cross. But the Lord delivered Jesus from death and the grave and glorified His name by His resurrection. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus delivers all mankind from the possibility of eternal death. This is the ultimate deliverance, the greatest victory any man can hope forever to be able to live in God’s glory and presence forever.
Prateep V Philip