Set Times (Part 1)
Today’s Text: Galatians 4:4-5
WALKING THROUGH THE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS
Timing is everything. Watching the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle with my son, we couldn’t help but be impressed by that fact. First, the pipe band with kilts swaying entered the courtyard marching in formation with booming drums and howling bagpipes. It was a deafening, but movingly wonderful racket!
Closely following, the Queen’s Guard wearing traditional hobnail boots, black trousers, red jackets and their trademark Canadian brown bear hats was an impressive sight. It was one of those rare events in life that moves you to the core—the group marched with precision according to a predetermined plan that was perfectly choreographed. Nothing happened by chance. No one was out of step.
In a much more profound sense, the events of history are governed by the sovereign God of creation; and, timing is everything.
GALATIANS 4:4-5 (NIV)
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”
SET TIMES REVEAL GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
God is eternal and omniscient. He isn’t bound by time and space; and, unlike man sees all of history like a colossal appointment calendar. Transcending the time space continuum, God has planned every date of the grand calendar of history and knows what He has purposed for each nanosecond.
There is a “set time” for every detail of God’s plan and purpose to be fulfilled.
SET TIMES REVEAL GOD’S STRATEGIC PLAN
Birth of Isaac
There was a set time when Sarah gave birth to Isaac, the promised heir of God’s covenant with Abraham. God promised Abraham,
“but My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year” (Gen. 17: 21).
At the set time, Sarah gave birth to Isaac just as God had promised.
The Exodus from Egypt
There was a set time for the nation of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. God told Abraham that his descendants would be slaves for 400 years in Egypt, but would ultimately return to the land He promised (15:13).
The book of Exodus records,
“And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years—on that very same day—it came to pass that all the armies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt” (Ex. 12:40-41).
Joshua led the nation of Israel across the Jordan River and into the land God promised Abraham and his descendants, Isaac and Jacob.
Following the Babylonian Exile
The psalmist records a set time to favor Jerusalem:
“But You, O Lord, shall endure forever, and the remembrances of Your name to all generations. You will arise and have mercy on Zion; for the time to favor her, yes, the set time has come” (Ps. 102:13).
Most commentators suggest the psalm was written by a Jewish exile and focuses on the return to the land following the Babylonian captivity. It was a set time because God had explicitly declared through Jeremiah the prophet that the Babylonian exile would last only 70 years (Jer. 25:11-12).
After seven decades in captivity, the nation of Israel (both Israel and Judah) returned to the land of Israel as promised (50:4).
The Birth of Jesus
There was a “set time” when the birth of Messiah was scheduled to occur. At that precise moment, God sent His Son. Writing to the Galatians, Paul asserts,
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son” (Gal. 4:4 NIV).
God was not passively waiting for an opportune moment to send His Son into the world. God scheduled the events of history— including the birth of Messiah.
It was the set time because 500 years earlier, Daniel the prophet provided a timeline connecting Israel’s future with God’s Messianic program (Dan. 9:24-27). He foretold that after 69 weeks of years or 483 years after Artaxerxes’ decree to rebuild Jerusalem, Messiah would present Himself to the nation of Israel in Jerusalem.
The prophecy was fulfilled to the letter when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass (Mt. 21:4-1). Any deviation in the timing of Messiah’s birth would have rendered Daniel’s prophecy invalid.
SET TIMES UNDERSCORE GOD’S CONTROL
The Son of God entered time and space at “the set time” on God’s sovereign calendar. He did not casually amble into the sphere of human existence.
At the appointed time—the most opportune day—God sent His Son (Gal. 4:4). Over a period of more than four millennia, God meticulously superintended the progress of human history creating the right environment for Jesus’ birth. Consequently, history is not careening out of control toward an uncertain end, but rather is unfolding according to an overarching plan.
Just as God planned the events leading up to and including the birth of the Savior, the remainder of history is also under His sovereign control.
Be encouraged that the sovereign God of creation is so awesome and mighty He will accomplish all that He purposes at His set time.
Charles E. McCracken is an international Bible teacher, long-time friend of Israel and advocate for the Jewish people. Rev. McCracken is known for authenticity in communicating biblical truth that makes his presentations relevant for those seeking to understand the significance of Israel and the church in Bible prophecy. He staunchly supports the nation of Israel and the Jewish people’s right to exist and live in peace.
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (Emphasis added.)
1) Walking to church (c. 1853). By George Henry Durrie (1820–1863) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son (as in Galatians 4:4). By James Tissot (1836–1902) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
Categories: Walking Through the Days of Christmas