Tag Archives: plan

Right on Time | Bible Gleanings – April 29-30, 2023

Jesus had arrived too late to save the little sick girl—or so it seemed. He was on His way to heal the daughter of Jairus when He was diverted by another woman in need of healing (Mark 5:24-35), and He didn’t make it in time. She died and her father’s heart was crushed: “While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?”” (Mark 5:35). But Jesus refused to accept that outcome, and He breathed the breath of life into the youth, resurrecting her from death (Mark 5:41-43). Jesus was actually right on time.

Jesus was too late to heal his friend Lazarus of his illness—or so it seemed. Lazarus had been wrapped up in the tomb for four days by the time Jesus arrived (John 11:17). That’s why Martha said despairingly, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). But Christ wouldn’t accept that fate, and He raised Lazarus by the power that enables Him to subject all things to Himself, including death (John 11:38-44; cf. Phil. 3:21). Jesus was right on time once again.

Jesus was too late to rescue Peter and John from prison—or so it seemed. They were imprisoned for preaching the gospel, and they waited in chains, unsure if they would be executed the next day. Daylight continued to burn, but there was no miraculous deliverance. And then suddenly, God sent one of his heavenly messengers in the middle of the night to free them from prison: “They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail. But an angel of the Lord came at night, opened the gates of the jail, and brought them out” (Acts 5:18-19a). Once more, Jesus was right on schedule.

The Lord is never late or behind schedule, even if it sometimes appears that way. He may seem to be taking His time in answering your prayers, granting relief, or working out evil for your good, but His timing is always perfect. God is always in time, on time, every time. He is the God who comes through in the midnight hour, when the sunshine of faith has set below the horizon of tribulation. He is the God who renews the strength of those who wait for Him (Isaiah 40:31; cf. Eccl. 3:11; Acts 1:7; 1 Peter 5:6).

This is why believers may sing the words of Just When I Need Him Most, written many years ago by William C. Poole (1875-1949):

“Just when I need Him, Jesus is near,
Just when I falter, just when I fear;
Ready to help me, ready to cheer,
Just when I need Him most.
Just when I need Him most,
Just when I need Him most,
Jesus is near to comfort and cheer,
Just when I need Him most.”

Day 17: If the Fates Allow?

“So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.” —Matthew 1:17

One of the most beautiful Christmas songs is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. It reminisces about all the joyful Christmases shared with family and friends and wishes the same to be enjoyed by all who hear it. However, one line in the song reflects a faulty (but common) understanding of the ordering of the universe: “Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow.” Fate is the ordering of events outside of human control, usually by some unknown supernatural power. And in the song, fate is credited as making possible or impossible the togetherness of family and friends. Some have recognized the error of this and rightly modified the lyrics to say, “If the Lord allows.”

Fate has nothing to do with the development or unfolding of anything. Only the Lord is sovereign and in control of all situations and events. If the Lord permits something to occur, it will—if He does not, it cannot occur. And this wonderful and comforting truth of God’s sovereignty pulses in every verse of Matthew’s seemingly unnecessary genealogy. To demonstrate God’s rule in the world and His commitment to fulfill His plan, Matthew traces God’s providential hand through history beginning with Abraham and ending at the birth of Jesus Christ (see vv. 2-17).

Many things occurred in those thousands of years that should have obliterated God’s plan to save sinners through Christ, but the will of God prevailed. During the period of time from Abraham to David, there were wars, famines, debauchery, idolatry, and destruction. Many things happened that even threatened the existence of the Davidic line—the one Jesus had to be born into. But God’s plan revealed to Abraham to bless all families of the earth through his offspring was indestructible, unstoppable, and immutable (Genesis 12:1-3). Despite all of this, God fulfilled His word by bringing forth, “the son of David, the son of Abraham” at the right time (Matthew 1:1b).

God’s plan never fails—it never fails for you, either. It might take some time to see it fulfilled and things may appear to be hindering it, but as Matthew’s genealogy demonstrates—nothing can stop the plan of God. As Job of old proclaimed, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). You need not depend on fate—you need only to trust the Lord.

profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie, Aries, and Dot.

You Are Enlightened (Eph. 1:9-10)

The following sermon was delivered at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky, on the 23rd day of September 2018, during the morning service:

profile pic5Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with free Christian resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their two dogs, Susie and Aries.