The Lord has set the times and the seasons on Earth, which He maintains in His own power. Man doesn’t know what distress or calamity might come on him, or even when he’ll die. He doesn’t even know what the right season and opportunity is to escape from evil and to do good for himself. Therefore, a man of God must be careful not to delay in doing God’s work, because he can never be sure when his opportunity will be over.
“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong…but time and chance happeneth to them all. For man also knoweth not his time…”Ecclesiastes 9:11-12
“…man knoweth not his time” doesn’t just mean his time of death, but any occasions of calamity or adversity. Everyone has to face some occasions of calamity which are unpredictable, and the worst is when his time is cut short by death.
“I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of My mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass”Isaiah 48:3
“I did them suddenly…” means these things happen when we aren’t watching for them and maybe don’t even think they’ll take place at all. Or we may think that God isn’t even truthful, after all. Times of evil can come so suddenly when we least expect them. And things can also come to pass so abruptly that we know they didn’t come forth or could have been predicted simply by man’s wisdom. They had been foretold a long time before by God, and when He finally acted, it was sudden. Therefore, they could not cheat Him out of the praise He deserves.
“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; for there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out. My son, fear thou the Lord and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?”Proverbs 24:21-22
“…for their calamity shall rise suddenly…,” coming upon those who don’t fear God, who rebel against the head of the government. They also get creative in religious matters and, while they cry “Peace, peace,” they’re very successful at bringing in conflict and error. People like this are only out to please themselves with new schemes of prosperity and success—but sudden destruction will quickly come upon them.
Those who are righteous are able to overcome recurring difficulties, while the wicked ones cannot. It isn’t necessary for the righteous to make plans to bring down the wicked, because their own evil schemes will certainly destroy them. The righteous need to subject themselves to God instead, and to the powers He has ordained on Earth. But those who rebel disrupt peace and order when they plot against the government that’s already established.
Christians are subjects, not rulers, in worldly commonwealths. They are therefore urged strongly to render to Caesar what’s his, and not to join in political changes and social upheavals. If we fail to obey God’s word concerning this, those who lack wisdom are likely to get involved in many snares. When a leader of a revolution is suddenly overthrown, both the one who rebelled and his followers will experience great misery.
“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace”Proverbs 37:1-11
Christians are therefore to submit themselves to every institution of man for the Lord’s sake. No matter what kind of character those who hold the power possess, they have still been sent “…for the punishment of evil-doers and the praise of those who do well.” This would be a merciful way of being delivered from the anarchy which would otherwise predominate.
“Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. Yet he passed away…I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him”Proverbs 37:34-40
Those who wait on the Lord and trust in Him don’t need to be afraid of evildoers, because they’ll soon be cut off. The righteous are to “Trust in the Lord…delight thyself in Him…commit thy way unto the Lord-…rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:4-7). If God’s people will simply do this, it will all work out, because the Lord will bring it to pass. He’ll “…bring forth righteousness as the light…” (Psalm 7:6) in that glorious coming day! We will no longer have to wait on the Lord, and doers of evil will be judged and condemned. But those who have continued to wait on the Lord will inherit the Earth! Will you be one of them?
[Additional image credits: Featured image (when applicable) by Henryk Niestrój from Pixabay}