The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. Genesis 13:14-15 NIV
God makes prophetic promises to His people. Such promises offer greater understanding, more responsibility, new territory and expanded kingdom influence. Time, and discernment of the times, is crucial to understanding and how to partner with God toward fulfillment of His promises. Scripture states that God’s promises are ‘yes and amen in Christ’ (2 Corinthians 1:20), fulfillment of promises seldom yield to our demands and perspectives of time.
In western culture we measure time based upon a 12 hour clock. The clock has a second hand that reveals time moving forward second by second. It has a minute hand depicting time minute by minute. It has an hour hand showing movement through the day, hour by hour. And some clocks document time from day to day. This western perspective of time is based upon watching the hands of the clock moving quickly across its face. From this we often expect fulfillment of a prophetic word or promise is based upon the clock. We develop the impression that God is using the same clock and marking time and fulfillment the same way. Wrong!
God’s perspective of time is much more based upon seasons, dispensations, and kingdom perspectives. God is never late; He’s always right on time! But, are we on time? We can only be on time if we perceive time from His perspective which is higher and greater than ours. We will be on time if we are intimately in relationship with Him and are infused with a level of discernment that perceives God’s view of timing, i.e. His perspective.
God reveals and offers opportunities in our earthly life to partner with Him to fulfill His prophetic promises. He will help and reveal to us how and when to cross into new territory. As we do so we also possess new dimensions of stability, strength and trust in Him.
Abram received a promise from God: The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a] forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord. Gen. 13:14-18 NIV Abram (later became Abraham) did not live in the time of fulfillment for that promise. When God made the promise there was no Isaac. There was no Jacob. There were no 12 sons of Jacob. There was no nation of Israel. However, Abram chose to believe God and partnered with Him to produce Isaac. While the Lord said ‘I am giving it to you’, the process of ‘I am giving’ was much longer than you and I would expect. The clock was not a good measurement of time! Isaac carried the promise generationally through the lineage to the 12 tribes and ultimate Joshua taking possession of the Promised Land.
When we get personal prophetic words of a future promotion, increase, or something greater in the Kingdom of God, we must be careful not to assume the timing of fulfillment or the process leading to fulfillment. Timing, and discernment of timing, are critical to successfully crossing into new territory.
For example, God called me into pastoral ministry in the late 1980’s. While this was not a promise, but a call to fulfill His call it automatically caused me to look at the clock! I was active in ministry of various kinds in our local church at the time, but I knew there was a greater level of engagement, responsibility, and authority for me in the future. But, when? I was in a financially and circumstantially prosperous career and life. I placed the timing of fulfillment beyond myself. Over the next few years I grew comfortable with my level of secular employment and local church volunteer ministry. Then suddenly, about 10 years after God’s call, a prophet spoke that I was called into full time ministry. He, again, did not give a specific time, but I discerned that after 10 years it must be close at hand. It was then that I became anxious and started to yearn for crossing over into that new territory. I became less satisfied with my current situation and more anxious to move forward. I considered taking action that, in my view, would make fulfillment happen. Then I talked to a wise man in our church and he counseled me to be patient and allow the Holy Spirit to prompt me on the specific timing and circumstances to move forward. After about three more years, the Holy Spirit prompted me to plant a church NOW…while I was still in my current employment. My financial provision was in the secular. My ministry gifting was in the planting. I was 50 years old.
Then…the day that I was ordained, a prophet prophesied I was also called to be an apostle. What!!??? I had only taken my first steps into pastoring and doing some international ministry, and now God declares this new mantle upon me??? I was so shocked I just put that word into the back of my mind. I did not try to make it happen. I focused on the now, and let the future take care of itself. It would be four more years before I retired from secular employment and moved more fully into ministry. It would be several more years before I began walking into apostolic ministry. And today I am still walking into it and walking though the apostolic with the Holy Spirit. But I am allowing the Holy Spirit to bring fulfillment, first inside of me, then outside of me.
The point…there is a process for crossing into fulfillment of God’s promises personally, corporately, and nationally. The process includes God’s timing and our transformation. Discern the times in order to stay in time with the Holy Spirit. Agree with His process and His timing will unfold unto fulfillment and you will cross over into that new territory.