Yesterday I mentioned “delays,” or more specifically, “Devine Ordained Delays.” What some of you may not know, is that many of the greatest saints of old experienced these “divine delays” in their lives. I think of Abram, who had to wait 25 years before he received the child God promised; Joseph sat in a jail and “waited” two years until Pharaoh’s cup-bearer remembered him—and many more years before he was reunited with his brothers; and Israel had to endure 400 years of slavery in Egypt and 40 years in the wilderness before they possessed the land of Canaan. More than a dozen times in the Psalms, the psalmist asks God, “How long?”
Psalm 62:1 says, “FOR GOD alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation.” The reality is that believers have to patiently endure the adversities of this life until our Lord returns. But this waiting can have a purpose, and that purpose is always a good one for the Christian.
Wait for the Lord;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord —Psalm 27:14
Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord,
they will inherit the land —Psalm 37:7-9
Just so you are understand, there is a world of difference between “divine delay” and “human procrastination.” From God’s point of view, Paul’s two-year incarceration in Caesarea was a “divine delay,” or “divine confinement.” But from Felix’s point of view, his failure to release Paul was simply procrastination. God delayed Paul’s case in a way that might appear to be detrimental, but in the end, we can see that God was able to use this delay—it was all in God’s good hand. Felix procrastinated, assuming that this delay was in his best interest. However, in the end, it was a deadly miscalculation for him.
It is never good to procrastinate in making a decision regarding the gospel. Yes, Felix’s procrastination resulted in him hearing the gospel a number of times, but because he never seems to have decided to trust in Jesus, his greater knowledge of the gospel only increased his judgment.
“That servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or do what his master asked will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know his master’s will and did things worthy of punishment will receive a light beating. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked” —Luke 12:47-48
I want to talk to those of you who are not disciples of Jesus. I encourage you to listen carefully to the gospel that Paul preached. We are all sinners, who deserve and await eternal punishment. There is nothing we can do to earn the righteousness God requires or to contribute to our salvation. Jesus did it all. He died in the sinner’s place, bearing the penalty for our sins. He also rose from the dead, the assurance that the Father accepted His sacrifice. Acknowledge your sin and trust in the work that Jesus Christ has accomplished on your behalf to receive your Salvation. Don’t you delay on this, because the day of opportunity will end, as it did for Felix.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Story of Acts