Scripture Devotion

How Long? When God is Pleased

theForumGalatians 1:15 – But when God … was pleased

who from my mother’s womb set me apart and called me by his grace …

The Call of God …

The Plan of God …

The Timing of God …

The Provision of God …

… are all OF GOD

When we are facing uncertainty, adversity, persecution, dire circumstance, we often ask, ” How long, Lord?”

The insinuation is that we know what is best.  It is a feeling that we are being wronged and we are calling God to account for the “injustice” of allowing this injustice in our lives to go unchecked.  Well, here is a different angle on the question, “how long?”.  Do we really want to open the floor for the “how long?” question?  If you do a casual search of scripture for the phrase, “how long” you will find that God often asks his people the same question.

  • “how long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?”
  • “how long will you refuse to keep my commands and instructions?”
  • “how long will these people despise me?”
  • “how long will they not trust me?”
  • “how long will you delay going out to take possession of the land that the Lord … gave you?”
  • “how long … will my honor be insulted?”
  • “how long will you love what is worthless and pursue a lie?”

Do we really want to get into a “how long?” contest with God?  The difference between us and God is perspective, knowledge, and wisdom.  God sees it all complete.  We see it myopically through darkened and damaged lenses.  God has full knowledge of every aspect.  We have limited knowledge.  God has the wisdom to know exactly what to do with the knowledge he has.  We aren’t as wise as we think we are, as is evident when we keep doing what we have been doing, and wonder why we keep getting what we have been getting.

Listen, there is nothing wrong with asking God, “how long?”, or “is it time?”.  But, we need to ask in trust and perspective, and with our hearts set on God, our lives given sacrificially to God, regardless of if God’s timetable matches ours.

I am mindful of a comparison of perspectives.  The disciples, on multiple occasions, asked, “Lord, will you establish your kingdom now?”.  What were they asking?  “How long, Lord, do we have to put up with our circumstances, persecution, adversity, and uncertainty.”  The problem was that they were asking selfishly, “will you do what we want?”, “will you give us seats of honor?”.  What’s the comparison?  In Revelation 6, in Heaven, the 5th seal was opened and we see souls under the altar crying out, “Lord … how long until you judge … and avenge our blood?”  THIS is the ONLY way to ask this question.  They don’t ask IF, but just, WHEN.  So often our question is calling into account the goodness of God, or the justice of God, but not here.

First, notice the LOCATION, they are under the altar, IN Heaven.  Then notice the POSTURE of the question, they have been slaughtered because of the word of God, and their testimony given.  These petitions came from people who have sold all, and sacrificed all, for the Lord they serve.  They are not asking for deliverance but for vengeance and justice.  They have willingly given their all and been poured out on the altar of God.  And then notice the UNDERSTANDING of their request, “Lord, the one who is Holy and True, how long …”  The understanding is that before I ask … “I KNOW you are Right, Just, Faithful, and Good.  So, if your timetable doesn’t match mine, I am OK with that, but just wondering, how long.”  Then notice the EXPECTATION that God will judge, and avenge.  It is not if, but when.

When?  What difference does it make?  What are we to do in the meantime?  Back to Acts 1:6, post-resurrection, they still ask Jesus, “How long?”  They ask, “Is it now that you are restoring the Kingdom of Israel.”  Wait, what?  The “Kingdom of ISRAEL”?  That was their concern?  No.  Our concern should be for the Kingdom of God and of his Christ.  That is what matters, not MY kingdom, my circumstances, my discomfort.  And Jesus says, in Acts 1:7-8, “It is NOT for YOU to know times or periods that the Father has SET by his own AUTHORITY.  But YOU will receive POWER … you will be my WITNESSES …”  God hasn’t put us on the timing committee.  God hasn’t guaranteed us earthly honor.  But Christ, has promised and given us the Power of the Holy Spirit, the One who empowered the Resurrection, it is FOR US who believe.  And Christ has given us the command to pour out ourselves as witnesses to the ends of the earth.

For Us … Power and Witness

For God … Authority to set the times and seasons.  Why?  Because he is Holy and True, Faithful and Just, Good and GREAT!

We need to take care of our stuff and let God do the God stuff.

So, When?

When God is “Pleased” (Gal 1:15) – eudokeo = take delight, well pleased, approve, consent to, choose.

My “when”, will be IF and When it pleases, delights God to choose to order the universe to bring about his will.  So, in the meantime, I have to work to do what could result in my life poured out under the altar.

Final perspective … Galatians 1:10 am i trying to persuade people, or God?  Am i striving to please people? (me included) If I am trying to please people I would not be a servant of Christ.”

But I AM of Christ and HIS pleasure is what I seek.

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