Keeping in step with the Lord as He changes times and seasons (Dan.2:21)

May 26, 2023 | INSIGHTS, PRAY

The Scriptures have much to say on the theme of ‘all nations’ coming to worship Yahweh. (YWAM have put together a list of verses that include that phrase.) They also speak of how the Lord Jesus will rule over the nations with a rod of iron – a phrase that sounds odd to modern ears, and which roots back to the prophetic declaration of Psalm 2:9. (cf Rev: 2:26-27) All the areas where the demonic has had a free hand will then be barred to them, as Christ alone rules with His chosen ones.

His is the ultimate sovereign power, and His rule and reign is, and always will be, based on love and justice: ‘the might of right, as opposed to the right of might,’ as Ellicot succinctly puts it. For those who will embrace His sovereignty now, overcoming the ways of the world and the temptations of the flesh, and showing themselves faithful to Him, Jesus gives many promises : not least that of sharing in the ‘shepherd-like anointing of the sovereign King.’ What a day that will be! (Rev. 12:5, 19:15)

But that day can often seem very far off, and so it is good to remind ourselves often of these things and, indeed, of the fact that the time is coming when we will be all the Lord desires for us to be. May the wonder of these mighty truths fill our hearts and fuel our prayers for the nations. As John so powerfully puts it:

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as He is pure. (1 John 2:2-3)

The Father has appointed that day, and He alone knows when it is to come. In the meantime, however, we are to synchronise with the times and seasons He has allotted to us, and the specific burdens and perspectives He wants to share with us in them.

This will not always comfortable! When Jeremiah told the Jews who were living in exile to pray for the welfare of Babylon, for example, it must have grated on the ears of those who were proud. (Jer. 29:7) But however unwelcome, it really was the Lord’s directive for that season, and even their most fervent prayers for a return to their homeland would not be granted until the period allocated for exile had completed its course, a full seventy years later.

That is not to say that the Lord would not be ‘storing up’ such prayers in readiness for the right time: He would indeed restore Israel to the land, and pour out His Spirit upon them. But it would be a different generation that received those blessings. The blessing belonging to the exiles was to be found in Babylon – and God intended for Babylon to be blessed by their prayers!

All of this is to remind us that, just as there are tides and seasons in our personal experience of God’s leading and presence, so are there are too in the ever-evolving journey of the nations. And just as we would be ‘out of step and out of season’ if we were to ask Him for temperatures of 35°C on Christmas Day in the UK (not even global warning has reached quite that point yet!), He would have our prayers for nations be in time with the ebb and flow of His stream.

When Solomon wrote about there being ‘seasons’ in the tide of human life, he addressed this matter directly:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace. (Ecc. 3:1-8 BSB)

It is so comforting to know that God appoints times and seasons; may we do our best to be alert in discerning and understanding them.

Banner image by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

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