About time to act ∙
God heard their groaning, and he remembered his covenant promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He saw the people of Israel and knew it was time to act. – Exodus 2:24-25
4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law,
5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology showed that the things we remember get better with age. How is that exactly? It is known that older individuals tend to regulate their emotions more effectively than those who are younger.
The participants were divided into three groups by age: 18-29, 41-53, and 65-80. In the study, they were shown three sets of images: positive, negative, and neutral. Then they tested the participants on their recall and recognition of the images.
Older adults recalled and recognized fewer negative images relative to positive and neutral ones. Although both the younger and older participants spent more time viewing the negative images, however only the younger group remembered them better. The conclusion reached was that while negative things happen to older adults, they don’t dwell on them (Psychology Today, Anne Becker).
When the Father remembers something, what does the word remember mean?
When the Old Testament says that the Father remembers someone or He remembers His promise to someone, it has a totally different connotation than what we might think.
The Father knows all things all the time, He never learns anything, and He never forgets anything. He has not been unaware, forgetful, or unconcerned. He is not suddenly overcome by forgetfulness. Nor does the Father respond impulsively or rashly.
When the Father “remembers” it’s not about the recollection of something temporarily forgotten, but rather simply recalling it to mind. When He remembers something or someone, He puts it on center stage and focuses on it.
But there’s more!
When the Father remembers someone, it’s not merely a mental activity. He remembers so that He might act on behalf of those remembered. Thus, embedded in the action of remembering is getting ready to act. He is preparing to fulfill His commitments and promises to those remembered.
The Hebrew verb translated remember is zakar. Zakar is typically translated remember and has the sense to recall knowledge from memory or have a recollection. However, it has a special significance when used regarding the Father. He does not merely remember, but remembering implies that He will take the appropriate action. “God’s remembrance of his covenant results in delivering his people (Exodus 2:24) or in preserving them (Leviticus 26:44-45)” (TWOT).
The Scriptures provide a record of the activity of the Father in human history. The Father intervenes at various times to carry out His purposes.
The sequence which is revealed is quite straightforward. The Father promises and then the Father waits. At the appropriate time, the Father remembers and acts.
Regarding the events of the Exodus, the Father waited for the proper time and now He is about to take action. He is ready to fulfill His promises.
He spent 80 years preparing Moses for service. “Moses was 40 years in Egypt learning something; he was 40 years in the desert learning to be nothing, and he was 40 years in the wilderness proving God to be everything” (Ryken and Hughes).
Among other things, the Father enrolled Moses in a special anger management program. His classmates were sheep. Graduation day came when Moses saw the burning bush on the mountain. On Mount Sinai, Moses met the Father, and the rest was history.
REFLECT & PRAY
The Father is never in a hurry, but He is always on time.
Father, it seems that I am frequently in a hurry and rarely on time. This needs to change. Help me to recognize that You are controlling all of the events in my life. You have both a plan and a timetable.
The Father promises then waits. The fabric of His plan is complex and filled with multitudes of people, places, and circumstances that all must be in place to set the stage for His irruption into the timeline of human history.
Galatians 4:4 When the right time came, God sent his Son
Before the foundation of the world, the Father had appointed a time and a place for His Son to come into the world. At just the right time, the fullness of time, the appointed time the Lord Jesus Christ came. It could not have come a moment sooner.
During the first century, the Roman Empire controlled the known world. It brought relative peace (Pax Romana) and stability. Greek had become an international language. An extensive “interstate highway system” had been developed, the Roman Way. It provided safe and rapid travel. Travel by water via the Mediterranean Sea added another layer of the rapid, relatively safe movement of people and information.
As a result, when the gospel was proclaimed, it spread rapidly throughout the known world and beyond. This was not a coincidence. It was planned.
“From the historical point of view, the Roman Empire itself helped prepare the world for the birth of the Savior. Roads connected city with city, and all cities ultimately with Rome. Roman laws protected the rights of citizens, and Roman soldiers guarded the peace. Thanks to both the Greek and Roman conquests, Latin and Greek were known across the empire. Christ’s birth at Bethlehem was not an accident; it was an appointment: Jesus came in ‘the fullness of the time.’ (And, it is worth noting, that He will come again when the time is ready)” (Wiersbe).
God is at work all the time. All the time God is at work. Perhaps it is once again about time for the Father to act.