Summary: My times are in your Hand.
One of the most comforting and reassuring statements in the Bible for the believer is Psalm 31:15, our text for the morning: My times are in your hand. Every now and then from some of the most unlikely sources, you will hear reference to that belief when Joe, who seldom darkens a church door says to his buddy Hank who just had a close scrap with death: “Well, I guess it just wasn’t your time yet,Hank.” Or perhaps the person was very elderly and ill and one friend says to another at the funeral home, I guess it was Mabel’s time. It is when a baby dies or a teenager is killed in an auto accident or a young mother of two perishes from leukemia, then many, including believers, are not
so sure about God’s timing- why must the person die so young? It’s like we base our
belief of God and His timing according to what seems right to us. If the person has lived a full life into her 90s, we have no trouble believing and saying God has called her
home and the time was right; but if the person is young and the passage from life has
been painful or violent, then we want to question God, why, or be angry with God,
saying she was needed to raise her family, or we may doubt God- wondering if He is even around or cares? What comfort then are the words: My times are in your hand, oh Lord.
The Bible states over and over again that God in His sovereignty, in His all-powerfulness, is in charge of time as He is of all of life. The entire Old Testament is a preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ- prophesy after prophesy tells of His coming. We read some of them each year at Advent, most familiar to us is that prophesy in Isaiah
“For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given…and He will be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace… “(Is.9:6).
And then when that child was born and grew to manhood and began His ministry, His initial message began with the words: “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” It was Jesus’ way of saying my Heavenly Father is in charge of time (the time is fulfilled) and more than just of time.
If you go to Genesis 8:22 you read about Noah making a sacrifice to God after Noah had been in the Ark for 40 days and nights and the water had finally receded and now the danger had passed and life would begin anew. The first duty Noah performs is to recognize and worship Almighty God. And verse 22 states that God received Noah’s
sacrifice favorably and said:
“I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the imagination of man’s
heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again destroy every living creature
as I have done. While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat,
summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
Here again, we see God in His sovereignty not just in control of time (the seasons, the hours of the day) but of all life. And just as clearly is it pointed out to us that this
divine control and power, this knowledge and domination of time is only God’s
prerogative to know and to control. Jesus makes this point to His disciples in
It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by His own authority.
It was the same message Jesus had given much earlier to His followers when He talked about His second coming:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son
but the Father only.” (Mt. 24:36)
And this sovereignty, this control that God has over time and history, does not just apply to a general understanding of life and how its works but becomes a belief based on faith in Almighty God that applies quite specifically to each believer’s own life. We hear Job saying (14:5): “Since (each man’s) his days are determined, and the number of his
months is with Thee, and thou (Lord) has appointed his bounds
that he cannot pass….”
And then again the Psalmist describes how God controls not just time in general but
my time and your time:
“Thy eyes (Lord) beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written
everyone of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there
were none of them.” (Ps. 139:16)
Before we were even born, God, had already allocated how many days we each would have. God is in charge just not of time, but of my time and your time: