Joe Crane - "Seven Times Experienced by Every Child of God"

I Chronicles 29:29-30, “Now the acts of David the King, first and last, behold they are written in the book of Samuel the seer and in the book of Nathan the prophet and in the book of Gad the seer, with all his reign and his might, and the times that went over him and over Israel, and over all the kingdoms of the countries.”

 

My thoughts have been going to some of the times we read about in the scriptures and what they have to say about these times. I don’t know what kind of time you may have been having, and certainly none of us know what kind of time awaits us on the journey, but we would desire, as David said in Psalm 34:1, to bless the Lord at all times.

 

How do we bless the Lord? We bless the Lord the same way the old man, Simeon, blessed the Lord in Luke 2. He perceived that this was the Christ that he had looked for and he took that child in his arms and embraced Him. Bless means “to make happy” and we make God happy when He sees we are falling in love with His Son. We please God by embracing the Christ. Be careful what you embrace. We read in Ecclesiastes 3:5 there is “a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing.”  A vulture clutched a small animal very closely and began to fly away. Up and up it went, then suddenly it started down and quickly fell to the ground. Those who had been watching went over to it and found a small weasel that had sucked the vulture’s blood and it was dead. We could hold on to something that would destroy our spiritual life. We can safely embrace everything that pertains to the life of Christ.

 

In Psalm 31:15, David said, “My times are in Thy hand; deliver me from the hand of mine enemies and from them that persecute me.”   The purpose of David’s heart was that all the times that went over him, above all that God’s name would be honoured and blessed.

 

I have been thinking about seven times we read about in the scriptures and I want to speak a little about them. There are many other times mentioned, but I will speak of seven.

 

1st – TIME PAST: 1 Peter 4:3, “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles,” etc. This is the time in our life before we got to know God. We were out of Christ, without a Saviour. No one is born a child of God. We all have to be born again. We all wrought the will of the Gentiles, every one of us, just going along with the crowd. People say, “Why don’t you do this, or why don’t you do that?”  We ought to say, “Why do you do it?”  They are slaves to the will of the Gentiles - just doing what others are doing and no power to be different.

 

2nd – TIME OF OUR VISITATION: David knew this experience in his life. Jesus told those Pharisees in Luke 19:44 they did not know the time of their visitation. That opportunity had passed from them. In Psalm 8:4, David said, "What is man that Thou art mindful of him and the son of man that Thou visitest him?”  Is it not a strange and wondrous thing to think that God would condescend to visit the worms of the dust like you and me? How grateful we are for the time of our visitation by the glorious gospel. That meek and lowly Man walked up and down amongst them and they did not know Him and could not believe that He was the Christ. We thank God today that He visited us, even though we cannot fully understand it or explain it.

 

3rd – TIME OF REFRESHING: Acts 3:19, Peter said, “The times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.”  How glad we are that God in mercy saw our plight, and He sent into our experience the time of visitation. Then He sent the time of refreshing and renewing. The Lord knows how prone we are to grow weary along the way. Getting into the presence of the Lord is where our refreshing comes from. I Chronicles 12:22, “For at that time day by day there came to David to help him, until it was a great host, like the host of God.”   Those who bring things they have received while in the presence of God, it brings refreshing to us. There are times when we will have much encouragement, but other times when we will have to encourage ourselves in the Lord. I Samuel 30:6, “David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.”   David was greatly distressed and wept. We can do a lot to encourage ourselves by the thoughts we feed upon. Keep right thoughts in your heart. Keep the love of God, and the love for the people of God.

 

4th – TIME OF TROUBLE: Psalm 27:5, “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock.”   This is a time that will come over all of us. It is possible to make the mistake of thinking, when I make my choice that will be the end of my trouble. Sometimes, troubles increase! Read Psalm 73. David said in verse 3, "I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”   He felt he had cleansed his heart in vain, until he went into the sanctuary of God, then he understood their end. He ended that Psalm by saying, “It is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Thy works.”

 

The man who built his house on the solid foundation faced the same storm and the same wind as the man who built his house on the sand, but when trouble came he had safety. His house stood and the other one fell. When trouble comes, it makes our hiding place all the more precious and we are thankful for the security we have in Christ. How foolish it would be for us to run away from the hiding place when the storm is raging. We knew a man who spent 20 years outside, and when he returned to the fold he told us he jumped overboard when a storm came up and he should have stayed with the ship. Remember Paul’s worlds in Acts 27:31, “Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.”   The ship won’t sink and those who stay in the ship will know the power and deliverance of God.

 

5th – TIME OF FEAR: Psalm 56:3, David said, “What time I am afraid I will trust in Thee.”   This time will come over all who seek to walk with God. There is a wholesome fear that God wants us to have as His people. He expects us to be afraid of certain things, just as parents expect their children to be afraid of certain things. A little child is supposed to be afraid of the dark. Jesus said men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil, but little children are afraid of the darkness. May we never get away from the spirit of a little child. We were in a home once when the father took his little son for “piggyback rides” around the house, and one room was dark. Every time he went into that room, the little boy would cry out.  The mother finally asked her husband why he kept taking him in that room, knowing he was afraid.  He said he like to feel him squeeze his neck tighter when he went in there! I am afraid of the darkness of this world. I am afraid of the devil. I am a man and he is an angel and I am no match for him. I am glad I know One who can put him in his place and keep him there, and what time I am afraid I will trust in Him.

 

6th – TIME OF OLD AGE: Psalm 71:9, David said, “Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.”   He said in Psalm 37:25, “I have been young and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread.”   Old age is not an easy time. The adversary will say, “You are no good and no one cares.”  He will dog your steps to the journey’s end. When David was young (1 Samuel 17), he fought one giant, but when he was old (2 Samuel 21), he fought four giants, and he proved the power and deliverance of God. In 2 Samuel he had a song that is an encouragement and inspiration for present and future tests. Young people have giants to fight and old people have giants to fight also. I wish I knew how to tell all of you just how much we appreciate you and what an inspiration it is to me just to look at you. You are never too old to love and praise God. You can love Him more and more the older you get.

 

An old man who couldn’t remember much of what went on from day to day could always speak so clearly about God’s true way and loved to tell of the time God sent His true servants to show him the right way to serve the Lord. Someone asked him why it was he could remember so much about his religion but couldn’t remember anything else. He said, “All that other stuff was in my head and my head isn’t working anymore, but my religion is in my heart and my heart is as strong as ever.”  Some of our friends visited an old lady and she said she wished she could prepare a meal for them and do other things for them like she used to do. They assured her that her love for the truth of God had refreshed their hearts and just being with her was the best meal they could have received. He is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love which you have showed towards His name.

 

7th -- TIMES OF RESTITUTION: Acts 3:20-21, “And He shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”   He has entered into heaven. When the time is right, He is coming back again. Truth and right will prevail. Habakkuk 2:14, “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” Righteousness will cover the earth. James 5:7-8, “Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth and hath long patience for it, until He receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts; for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.”   The Judge stands at the door. Judgment will be administered. We are going to receive a new body, a body perfectly fitted to live in forever. There is going to be restitution and that is our hope. We are grateful He did not leave us where we were, but He sent into our experience a time of visitation. Many times He sends refreshing as we journey on, and we will know more and more of this. May we be firmly purposed in our hearts, as we go forth today, that we will bless the Lord at ALL TIMES by embracing that beautiful Christ life.