Spirit of Grace Ministries
Spirit of Grace Ministries
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The Importance of Timing

By Dennis Pollock


Anyone who has walked with God for any length of time has discovered that when it comes to following the will of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit, timing is incredibly important. There are many absolutes given in the Bible that do not depend upon timing, of course. Stealing is wrong all the time. Whether you steal in the morning or in the evening, whether you rob houses while in your twenties or in your seventies, whether you pick pockets in the winter or in the summer, it is always wrong and always a sin.


There are, however, many things that are not so clear. What may be entirely wrong at sixteen may be God's perfect will for you at thirty-five. There are times when God leads you to take some action, but if you do not respond immediately, you may try to do that very thing a year later and find that God is no longer in it and will not bless it.


Entering the Promised Land


Let me give you a few Biblical examples. When the children of Israel were delivered from their bondage in the land of Egypt, they soon found themselves across the Jordan from Canaan, their promised land. Moses sent twelve spies into the land to check out their new home. They came back after a while and declared that the land truly flowed with "milk and honey," but also reported that there were giants in the land who made them feel like tiny grasshoppers. At least that is what ten of those men thought. Joshua and Caleb saw things differently and encouraged the people with these words:


"Do not rebel against the LORD, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us." (Numbers 14:9)


The Israelites did not see things this way. They became terribly afraid and were ready to stone Moses, Joshua, and Caleb. God's glory appeared at the tabernacle and put an end to this plan. It took some serious intercession by Moses to keep God from killing all the Israelites and starting afresh to make Himself a nation through Moses' family. God relented of this, but told Moses that, since they had rebelled against His word, these mutinous Israelites would die in the wilderness, and told Moses that the plan to enter and conquer Canaan had been canceled, for a time. By the next morning the ten spies who had turned Israel away from following God's command were all dead.


Moses told his rebellious followers to forget about entering their promised land. They would live and die out in the wilderness and never see the land of milk and honey. Apparently, the shock of having these ten spies die in a single night, and the realization that they would never enter Canaan shook them so deeply that they immediately had a change of heart. They now told Moses that they were ready – they would march into Canaan as God had instructed.


Too Late


But it was too late. Moses told the people:


"Now why do you transgress the command of the LORD? For this will not succeed. Do not go up, lest you be defeated by your enemies, for the LORD is not among you." (Numbers 14:41-42)


What would have been proper and right, and the perfect will of God a day or two before was now completely wrong. Their initial disobedience had cost their generation the promised land. To move ahead now was both sin and folly. They must submit to God's discipline and turn back from Canaan, and begin their forty years of wilderness trekking and camping, by the end of which they would all be dead.


I am convinced that there are times when God demands immediate obedience, and if we delay too long, His will for us changes. If we now try to do the thing He was telling us to do awhile back, we may find that God is not in it and He will not bless it. There are certainly times to wait and pray and discern the will of God, but there are also times when God has made His will plain to us, and to wait and delay is to disobey. And if we wait too long, we will miss our blessing entirely.


Moses' Supposition


Another example of the importance of timing is found in the life of Moses himself. In the Book of Acts, Stephen is on trial for his life and recites an abbreviated history of Israel. He tells how Moses killed the Egyptian who was oppressing one of the Hebrews. Moses defended the man and killed the Egyptian. In one of the most overlooked and under-preached verses in the Bible, Stephen tells us:


"For he supposed that his brethren would have understood that God would deliver them by his hand, but they did not understand." (Acts 7:25)


Here is an important insight in the life and heart of Moses. Even at the relatively young age of forty, Moses sensed that he was called by God to deliver his fellow Hebrews. What is more, he figured that all the Israelites would understand this. But of course they did not get it; nobody got it at all. Moses was right, of course. He was indeed called by God to deliver his brothers, but he was about forty years too early. At age 40 he was too immature, too rash, and did not have the walk with God necessary to get the job done. Additionally, this was not yet God's time for the deliverance He had in mind.


And so Moses' killing the Egyptian did not rally all the Hebrews to rise up and throw off the shackles of Egyptian slavery as he apparently hoped. Instead, Moses was forced to flee for his life and spend forty years as a shepherd in the land of Midian. At the age of eighty he would see a burning bush and God would tell him to go and do the very thing he had hoped to accomplish so many years ago. What was wrong and out of the will of God for Moses at forty was right and was the perfect will of God for Moses at eighty.


Here was a case of rushing too soon into what was the manifest destiny of God. Whereas a generation of Israelites delayed doing God's will and lost their promised land, Moses rushed too soon to do God's will, and was forced to wait four more decades. But both were matters of timing. Whether you move too slow or too fast, if you deviate from God's perfect schedule, you err and can miss your blessings, or at least significantly delay them.


To Leave or Not To Leave


A third example of bad timing is found in the story of Hagar. When Sarah could not conceive, she convinced Abraham to take Hagar, her maid, (or “bondwoman” as she is called in scripture) as a second wife and have a baby with her. He did, and sure enough Hagar became pregnant and gave birth to a boy she named Ishmael. The two wives of Abraham soon started having problems with each other. Hagar became proud of her baby and gave Sarah a hard time of it. Sarah soon responded harshly and started making Hagar's life miserable. Finally, Hagar could stand it no longer, and left Abraham and Sarah to try to make a more peaceful life for herself and her son, Ishmael.


Hagar ended up out in the wilderness, no doubt wondering what would become of her and her young son. Then an angel appeared to her, who told her: "Return to your mistress, and submit yourself under her hand… I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, so that they shall not be counted for multitude." Hagar was astonished that the God of Abraham had noticed her, and gave Him the name: "The-God-Who-Sees-Me." She obediently returned to Abraham and Sarah, and lived with them as before.


Some years later, however, after Sarah had her own baby, Isaac, she told her husband to get rid of Hagar, not wanting her son Isaac to have to be a joint-heir with Hagar's son, Ishmael. Abraham was reluctant to do this, but God told him to do exactly as Sarah requested, telling him:


"Listen to her voice; for in Isaac your seed shall be called. Yet I will also make a nation of the son of the bondwoman, because he is your seed." (Genesis 21:12-13)


Now Hagar is forced to do the very thing she tried to do years ago but was sent back. Now she must leave, and there will be no returning. What was wrong for her to do when Ishmael was small was now commanded by God at this point! Obedience to God's will meant staying with Abraham and Sarah earlier – now obedience meant striking out on her own. Amazing how time can affect the decisions we must make.


It's All About Timing


This idea of timing is not merely something Bible characters had to deal with – it is something every child of God must deal with frequently throughout their lives. I tried to start a ministry in 1988, which I called "Dennis Pollock Revival Ministries" while I was in my thirties, and it was a total failure. Nothing happened, no doors opened, and my dreams of full-time evangelism and Bible teaching.

dissolved. But when I started a similar ministry, which I called "Spirit of Grace Ministries" in 2005, the difference was night and day. Money flowed in enabling me to plan and execute African missions, doors opened, and God's favor was abundant. What had been impossible in an earlier season was now working beautifully in God's season.


A long time ago, Solomon wrote: "To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1). And wise is the man and the woman who can discern the seasons of their lives, and act accordingly. What may be wrong and foolish at one time of our lives may be the perfect will of God at another time. Likewise, if we delay obedience to the Holy Spirit when He says, "Move – NOW!" we may find that trying to do that very thing at a later time may not work for us at all. Paul writes "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit…" and this always involves divine timing.


The Greatest Timing Danger


The greatest danger concerning time has to do with those who feel the tug of the Holy Spirit on their hearts to receive Jesus, but put it off, saying to themselves, "Maybe later." This is perhaps one of the devil's most effective tactics to keep people out of heaven. "Maybe later, maybe later," and later never seems to come. The Bible says: "Now is the day of salvation." Very few people are born again in their middle to older years. Most people who believe on Jesus Christ and enter the Kingdom of God do so while they are relatively young. It is a sad fact of life that the older people grow, the more hardened their hearts become, the more set in their ways and opinions and biases they grow.


For this reason, any time you feel the moving of the Holy Spirit on your heart to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, do not delay, do not pause, do not wait. Make no excuses, but fix your gaze on the cross of Jesus, where He died for your sins. Observe the empty tomb from which He rose triumphantly from the grave. And then run straight to Jesus and receive Him by faith as your Lord and Savior. This is the will of God for you RIGHT NOW, and for every person of every tribe and tongue and nation. Tomorrow may be too late.




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