Bible Society of South Africa

New Beginnings: God’s miraculous timing – 13 December 2021

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

11The LORD, the holy God of Israel,

the one who shapes the future, says:

“You have no right to question me about my children

or to tell me what I ought to do!

12I am the one who made the earth

and created the human race to live there.

By my power I stretched out the heavens;

I control the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Isaiah 45:11-12GNBOpen in Bible reader

Timing is the key element in co-ordinating actions, making an appropriate response, or being punctual, and is not always easy to master.

Recently, as I left the house I set the burglar alarm, locked the door and had hardly moved two paces before its shrill yelping assaulted my ears, setting my heart pounding. Unbeknown to me, it was my husband who’d arrived home and had come in through the side door seconds after I’d exited, creating an amusing comedy of errors! In life, with our limited perception, it’s not always easy to get it right.

Not so God. The timing of the One who “control(s) the sun, the moon, and the stars” is perfect. He is like a mighty orchestra conductor who controls every last second, and with His infinitesimal timing produces the miraculous.

Poet Henry Van Dyke expresses this beautifully: “The birth of Jesus is the sunrise of the Bible. Towards this point the aspirations of the prophets and the poems of the psalmists were directed as the heads of flowers are turned towards the dawn…” As observed before, the Old Testament highlights God’s relationship with His people and mankind’s need of redemption. Prophecy about Jesus’ redemption of the world began in Genesis and continues until Revelation. God’s timing is exact and His power supreme.

Are we surprised, then, that Caesar decided to order a census requiring Joseph to go from Nazareth to be registered in “Bethlehem … the town of King David, (as) Joseph was from the family and descendants of King David” (Luke 2:4, EBD) to fulfil the prophecy that the Messiah would be born there? “The LORD says, ‘Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.’” (Micah 5:2, GNT)

We should also not be surprised when God sends an angel to Joseph when he is poised to divorce Mary; or makes a magnificent star appear in the sky in time for three wise men to make their epic journey; or when He sends angels to illumine the sky when Jesus is born. Perfect timing that works miracles is what God does naturally, and showing His tender love to His servants throughout history is what He does best.

Take devout Simeon receiving the fulfilment of prophecy when Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple; the Holy Spirit had revealed, “that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah”. (Luke 2:26) At precisely the right time,”Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts …” and “took (Jesus) in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation …” (Luke 2:27-30)

And what of the old prophetess, Anna, who “never left the temple”, who at “That very same hour arrived and gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were waiting for God to set Jerusalem free”? (Luke 2:38) Each prophecy, each poem found its fulfilment in God’s perfect timing.

As we entrust ourselves to Him, God’s perfect timing can be found in the poetry of our lives, too.

Prayer: Wonderful Father, You write the poetry of my life and fulfil your miraculous promises in Jesus, “who is the “Yes” to all of Your promises …” and “through (Him) our “Amen” is said to (Your) glory.” (2 Corinthians 1:20) Amen

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