How often have we heard this question asked throughout the day? Especially if we are at work, at school, on our way to an appointment, or maybe while sitting in a doctor’s office. “What time is it?” is a colloquial English utilization of time, meaning both degree (extent or length of time) and a specific point (in time), that is to say, “the hour.”
When I was going through my transition period from a First-Class Petty Officer to Chief Petty Officer, we had to learn an interesting statement regarding time.
“Due to the fallacious nature of my chronometer and the inability of my cerebrum to function in the manner of an august Chief Petty Officer, I am unable to ascertain the correct time to a punctilious degree. However, it is my firm conviction that the approximate military time is _____ local.”
This was not necessarily about time itself, but rather it was about showing intense attention to detail or correct behavior. When you think about it, in a slightly humorous way, this same statement could be applied by many people today.
Many of us do not, or have not, ascertained time in a correct manner. God has given us time and time again to listen to His Words, to examine what has happened to our lives and others in the past, and to make a proper decision about our eternal souls. But what have we done with it, the time?
What Does the Bible Say about Time?
When we look at Isaiah 49:8, Psalm 69:13, and 2 Corinthians 6:2, each mention “an acceptable time.” But what is or when is an acceptable time?
This is what the Lord says: “In the time of my favor I will answer you, and in the day of salvation I will help you; I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people, to restore the land and to reassign its desolate inheritances (Isaiah 49:8).
Chapter 49 of the Book of Isaiah begins the discourse regarding the future Redeemer. In verses one through seven, it speaks of God’s Servant, who will be the Light. Prior to the Servant (the Messiah) being born, God had picked Him to shed the light of the gospel (the message of salvation) to the whole world (Acts 13:47).
Christ offered salvation to all countries and to all people, and His disciples started the missionary journey to take this gospel to unimaginable lengths.
Evangelistic missionary work still proceeds today with Jesus' Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), taking the gospel light to every corner of the earth. Starting in verse eight through the remainder of the chapter, it tells us that the Lord will comfort His people.
Now if we look specifically at verse eight in Isaiah 49:
1. “This is what the Lord says.” This is God the Father speaking to His Son.
2. “In the time of my favor I will answer you.” Christ was here on earth where He suffered and died for all of humanity. This was an acceptable time to God the Father. Christ’s sufferings and sacrifice were acceptable. His righteousness was acceptable.
In as such, the perfections of Christ were glorified, His purposes were answered, God’s covenant and promises were fulfilled, and the people saved. All they had to do was accept it themselves.
It was acceptable to humanity that these things were done now. Sin was pardoned, peace and reconciliation were given, righteousness was justified, and the plan of salvation was completed. Such was the coming of Christ, that good will be given to man (Luke 2:14).
God showed His good will (kindness) to humanity by the One whom He sent to save them, His one and only beloved Son, Jesus. By sending Jesus to save all sinners, this time was secured and resolved by the kindness (goodwill) of God.
During this time, the Master heard Christ, as He was always interceding for Himself and for the people. God heard Christ in the Garden, on the cross, and at any other time (Hebrews 5:7).
3. “And in the day of salvation I will help you.” As Christ toiled through the salvation for humanity, God the Father had promised that He would help Jesus in it and through it (Isaiah 42:1, 50:7, 50:9).
4. “I will keep you and will make you.” God the Father preserved Christ from His birth and throughout His earthly years, from the cross, death, and the grave. He has preserved Him for His kingdom and glory, and as He sits on His throne in heaven at God’s right hand.
5. “To be a covenant for the people.” All people, Jews, and Gentiles, were given to Christ. They were redeemed by His blood, and they are who the Holy Spirit sanctifies. The blessings and the promises of the covenant of grace, Christ was given for it to humanity. Christ is the mediator and messenger.
6. “To restore the land.” This is for the whole world, not just the land of Judea, during that time. For without Jesus, the whole world would be broken.
7. “And to reassign its desolate inheritances.” The picture here is taken from the state of the place that is known for Israel during the Babylonian imprisonment, which was in ruins and forsaken.
Spiritually, this would be the state of the country when the Savior was to come, and His work would resemble reestablishing the exiles to their homeland.
It additionally appears to indicate the forsaken state of the church congregation, which ought to be prospering through the various conversions of Jews and Gentiles as fruit due to the effect of the covenant of grace brought about by Jesus Christ.
In addition, the heathen and the uttermost parts of the earth were given as an inheritance and possession.
Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession (Psalm 2:8).
But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation (Psalm 69:13).
Here we see David’s lament of grief in an ocean of affliction. What issues David had confronted! He was laughed at, ridiculed, embarrassed, and made the object of broad chitchat. Yet he still prayed.
How Does This Apply to Us Today?
When we are at our wits' end, we are enticed to abandon God, surrender, and stop confiding in Him. When our circumstance appears to be irredeemable, we ought to verify that regardless of how awful things become, we will keep on praying.
God will hear our requests and He will safeguard us. When others reject us, that is the point at which we need God most. We should not abandon our most reliable companion. When was David’s acceptable time when he was at his worst? Any time is an acceptable time for prayer.
For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).
God is offering salvation to everyone now. Many individuals put off making a choice for Christ, feeling that there will be a more opportune time later on.
However, they could undoubtedly pass up on their chance for salvation without knowing it. There is no better time than right now to accept God's gracious forgiveness. We should not allow anything to keep us away from coming to God.
God’s time is any time, yet He will answer in His time. In the words of John Cena, “Our time is now.”
And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed (Romans 13:11).
For further reading:
What Does it Mean That No One Knows the Day or Hour?
What Are We Doing with God’s Invitation?
Why Do the Psalms Say, ‘At Their Wits’ End’?
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Chris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. He is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. You can check out his work here.