Times and Seasons
To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted… a time to break down, and a time to build up. (Eccl. 3:1-3)
One of the key benefits of the prophetic is that it allows us to know a sense of divine timing and purpose (Amos 3:7). Like the religious leaders in Jesus’ day, it’s entirely possible to have a thorough knowledge of scripture, yet miss what God is doing in the earth at a given time (see Matt. 16:1-3).
The focus of this article is the set purposes of God, which are unable to be thwarted (Job 42:2; Ps. 102:13). Some of God’s plans happen at the appointed time, while others require a fullness or maturing of time – as opposed to specific dates. Regardless, God looks for those who will partner with Him (Gen. 18:14; Eph. 1:10; Isa. 6:8).
We read in Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven”; yet without the prophetic, scripture alone can seem confusing.
Through the call of Jeremiah, God established that He reveals seasons to root out and pull down, to build and to plant through the mouth of His prophets (see Jer. 1:5-10). It is the prophetic that allows us to know God’s purposes for a particular season, so our prayers and actions can come into agreement; that way, we’re not pulling against what He’s doing or trying to move in a different direction than Him.
God wants you to be on the cutting edge of what He is doing in days ahead. This will require an understanding of the times we are in, as well as successfully passing the phase of examination we have been in.
Nothing to Hide
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:23, 24, KJV)
We’ve been in a period where the Lord has been looking deep inside His people; nothing that’s come to light under His gaze can be hidden or denied. I have always invited the Lord to search my heart, yet the level at which He’s spoken about this leaves me with a sense of holy awe and fear unlike any I’ve previously experienced.
This scrutiny has been for a purpose. God’s been identifying those who have given up everything to follow Him, and it is now His season to give it back.
Surrender and a Switching Around
Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Mark 10:29-31)
In the large picture, perhaps not every person is required to leave every thing. I believe that’s why this passage reads “or” instead of “and” - as in houses or brothers or wife or children or lands. (See also Matt. 19:29.) Certainly my husband and I have given up some material things (for the kingdom), the approval of some family members, and the acceptance of many – even in the religious community, but it is only God who determines by deep examination who has truly left “all”.
Both of these passages speak of receiving a hundredfold, yet it is hardly clear whether this is earthly or eternal reward, material or spiritual blessing. But Proverbs 6:30 and 31 say:
People do not despise a thief if he steals to satisfy himself when he is starving. Yet when he is found, he must restore sevenfold; he may have to give up all the substance of his house.
I truly believe God is revealing that many who have left all to follow Him will be receiving untold blessings in days ahead—including of a material and financial nature. This lines up with the word many prophets have been giving, that we have entered days of restoration and double blessing—including financial blessing.
Jesus said if anyone desired to come after Him, he must die daily and take up his cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Confusion can result if we assume the cross to be a symbol of suffering in this passage, rather than surrender or submission. An undue focus on suffering (while biblical in some respects; see Rom. 8:17) leads to a martyr or “woe is me” complex.
The real issue is surrender – in other words, submitting like Jesus did to the will of His Father—which in His case led to the suffering of the cross (Luke 22:42). What you’re required to surrender will likely look different from what I am required to leave or lose—you have to know what you’re called to, right?
Another thing the Lord has been speaking is that He’s “switched us around.” This is in reference to the portion above, which says, “Many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
Again, this passage can be a challenge to interpret, but when the Lord begins speaking into issues of timing from His word, be paying attention. As mentioned, I believe restoration – even financial – is a part of it. It can also be as simple as that we so often appear foolish when we leave all to follow Him, but God is moving to switch things on our behalf in this season, as if to say—“We’ll see who’s foolish now!”
… The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit. (James 5:16b-18, NASB)
Of course, prayer plays an important and vital role in this dynamic season of switching around we are in now. And while God hears all our prayers, when we pray in alignment with His revealed timing and purpose, we can expect to see the heavens rend (Isa. 64:1).
Scripture uses Elijah to illustrate effective prayer and identifies him to be a man like we are. He obviously exemplified faith, as well as perseverance in his prayers. (See 1 Kings 18:42, 43.)
But a major key Elijah had was the word of the Lord. He did not pray for the rains to cease or resume on a whim – or because it sounded like a good idea. He had the mind of the Lord—He knew God’s timing and purpose. (1 Kings 17:1, 18:1) And He was greatly used to display the power of the Lord.
You and I can be used like that too. Like Elijah, we can know God’s timing and seasons – we can have the mind of the Lord. And by aligning in faith and persistent prayer we can watch the Lord rend the heavens to display His power through us to accomplish His purposes.
Let it be so, Lord, through me. Amen.
Pray and Act
- Let us be neither ahead nor behind on Your timing Lord. (Eccl. 3:1)
- Teach us to wait upon You. (Isa. 40:31)
- Teach us to discern the times we are in. (Luke 12:56)
- Invite Him to examine the recesses of your heart. (Ps. 139:23, 24)
- Renew your commitment to leave all and follow Him. (Mark 10:29, 30)