The word for this week is 'DELAY'.
Ever experience a 'delay'? Could be you've been jammed up in traffic. Maybe it was a test report that is leaving you somewhat anxious. 'Delay' sends some into panic and others into rage. Neither is good for us or anyone around us. (Notice I said 'us') In this fast paced culture where schedules are often tight and margins razor thin, 'delay' can be more than just a nuisance. It's a need. Now before anyone gets a rope, hear me out.
God has incorporated 'delay' into His creation. Even we who are created in His image don't get a pass on this one because it is inconvenient. There are life lessons associated with 'delay'. (Did I just say that? Of all the topics to choose from, why this one; why now?) 🤔
There is a 'delay' built into the seasons of life. There is a 9 month 'delay' between when life begins at conception and life is actually embraced at birth. That 'delay' gives the couple time to prepare for the blessing that lies ahead. It also gives them time to enjoy sleep. And during the 'delay', life lessons are present. Hopefully, a few are learned.
There can be a 'delay' of up to 7 months between the time the seed is planted and the time the plant produces fruit for harvest. During the 'delay' there is no lack of activity (work). That regiment of care and exercise has a purpose. It helps provide the best possible opportunity for a bountiful harvest. And through it all life lessons are present. Again, hopefully a few are learned.
Often there is a 'delay' in the consequences of sin. What was done to satisfy the pleasure of sin for a season will bear fruit that produce thorns and thistles. Sometimes the 'delay' is a day or two. Sometimes it's a month or two and sometimes it may be a year or more. During that type of 'delay' (in the life of a believer) there is no peace of God present because forfeiture was foolishly made. While all sin is covered by the blood in the life of a believer, the peace that God provides by grace is forfeited and replaced with the pressure of guilt that can overwhelm the spirit.
*A good biblical example is King David. The man that Luke described as 'the man after God's own heart' in Acts 13:22. As King, David lusted after another man's wife, committed adultery with her, lied to himself, her husband and his armed forces captain. David then participated in getting Bathsheba's husband, Uriah drunk. When that didn't work out as David planned, David then ordered Uriah's death and delegated him to carry his own death sentence to his superior. And during the 'delay', David foolishly believed he could cover it up. David tried hard to do that!
During the 'delay', a baby was born to David and the wife he claimed, Bathsheba. And during the 'delay', David wrestled with his sin. (Psalm 51) This unnecessary 'delay' lasted for what many believe to have been a year. That's quite a long period of denial when you want to get past it and move on. We can rest assured that discouragement and defeat prevailed, as well. (Proverbs 28:13)
Then the day arrived when the 'delay' came to an abrupt end. God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David with his deed and his denial. (2 Samuel 12) During that confrontation, God exposed the root of the problem in David through a story telling prophet. Nathan 'pointed' out what David had tried to cover instead of confess. What was done under cover of darkness was indeed exposed in the light. (Number 32:23) David responded by repenting. (Good move) God responded by immediately restoring the peace that David had foolishly forfeited and the pressure left with it! And through all the 'delay', life lessons were present. And life lessons were learned! (Psalm 51)
There is also a 'delay' of separation for those who refuse to trust Christ as Lord. It seems in this present world that the ungodly have it all. It seems there is no profit to forsaking the flesh and following Christ. However, you know everything is not as it seems; right?
Scripture affirms that there is a way that seems right to a person but the end is the way of death. (Proverbs 14:12)
There is a 'delay' built in between engaging/enjoying the passing pleasure of sin and the irrevocable punishment that it brings. The 'delay' has a purpose. There is a life lesson present in the 'delay' that must not be ignored. The 'delay' gives sinners, those who need to repent and be born again the opportunity. This lesson must be learned here or hereafter will not be enjoyable at all. And the lesson cannot be learned until it is first heard.
So hear this & then share this--"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, but is long-suffering (there's the 'delay') toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
However, judgment delayed is NOT judgment denied. And as has been well said, 'the wheel of God's judgment grinds slowly but it grinds exceedingly fine'. Nothing gets by His judgment unless it is removed altogether by Jesus who took it upon Himself for those who believe and accept the free pardon of sin through faith.
Many today are living in the 'delay' of separation. Most are living in denial. Some will be saved during the 'delay'. (I am one. Hopefully, you are one, as well.) Sadly, most will not be! And the lesson that was made available throughout their life will be out of reach for life as each one is placed in exile from God. That will be a much longer 'delay' than most realize because there is no end to the 'delay' of spiritual death!
Those who refuse to hear will find themselves 'stuck' in trouble for eternity. Some may even wish for a day or two when they could just be 'stuck' in traffic once again! At least then and there, you had hope of moving toward your desired destination. The trouble with spiritual death is that you are jammed up without hope, of any kind. You are 'stuck' at your destination!
Now that's a reason to panic!
It's a better reason to pray and prepare! For in the day you think not, the Son of man comes.
All who are not made right with God through faith during the 'delay' will have ignored life's most important lesson. And all who foolishly forfeit truth will be left to be separated by the angels of God. (Matthew 13:39-40) And each will go where they belong. It was once said, "At death God removes our inhibitions and we go where we belong."
Do you know where you belong?
May God bless each of us with words of truth that provide a present help in time of need and a prevailing hope in Christ.
Thank God for a 'delay' of seasons, suffering & separation!
It's a need, NOT a nuisance.
May God press upon each of us the urgency to share Jesus today during the 'delay'.
Be loved of the Father; belong in His family.
In His grip,
1 Corinthians 15:58