From: Francis Harper
The Precise Timing of the Lord
The Lord’s timing is perfect and precise. Although it is not for us “to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power” (Acts 1:7), we can observe how in times past his timing has always been perfect and precise. It has been said, “he is never in a hurry, nor is he ever late.”
I believe all are acquainted with the miraculous Red Sea crossing, as it is recorded in Exodus 14. The Israelites were encamped by the Gulf of Aqaba of the Red Sea. “The Egyptians pursued after them . . . and overtook them encamping by the sea (Exodus 14:9). The Israelites were trapped with no apparent route of escape. With the mountains on either side, the sea before them and the Egyptians behind, it appeared they were facing certain death.
At the last minute, in precise timing, “the Lord said unto Moses . . . speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward; lift up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea” (Exodus 14:15-16).
The birth of Jesus had been prophesied: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2).
In precise timing the Lord caused the mighty Caesar Augustus to issue the decree that all his empire should be taxed. And Joseph with Mary, his espoused wife, she being “great with child,” had to travel the ninety miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be taxed. This trip would have taken at least a week by donkey. Would the child be born on the way? Once again, the Lord’s timing was perfect. He ordered the footsteps of the lowly donkey to arrive in Bethlehem, an obscure village of the Roman Empire, in precise timing to fulfill the ancient prophecy of Micah.
Once again, we witness the perfect timing of the Lord when the parents of Jesus took him to the temple in Jerusalem, “to do for him after the custom of the law” (Luke 2:27). Simeon and Anna came by the spirit, “at that instant” (Luke 2:38) to bless the child, and to give thanks unto the Lord. This meeting at the temple was more than a coincidence. God had arranged it by his Spirit; bringing Simeon and Anna into the temple at just the right moment to meet the Christ-child.
In a dream, Lehi had been commanded to return to Jerusalem to the house of Laban to obtain the record of the Jews and a genealogy of his forefathers. Lehi assigned this difficult task to his sons. Nephi, the youngest son, was given this testimony: “I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them” (1 Nephi 1:65).
With this faith, Nephi was selected to go into the city to obtain the records. He wrote: “I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do” (1 Nephi 1:106). The Lord had prepared in perfect timing for Laban to be in a drunken stupor, unable to defend himself, allowing Nephi to slay him and clothe himself in Laban’s garments. Next, Nephi met in precise timing the servant of Laban, who had the keys to the treasury. By impersonating Laban, the servant was persuaded to open the treasury and the records were obtained. This mission was accomplished by the Lord’s arrangements in precise timing.