Precisely When He Means To

Precisely When He Means To
Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” (Genesis 6:3 ESV)

One of my favorite quotes from the Lord of the Rings stories happens early on. Frodo accuses Gandalf of being late, and Gandalf replies, “A wizard is never late. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.” I thought of this quote recently when reading through the opening chapters of Genesis.

In Genesis 6:3, God says, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” But it’s not until we get to Genesis 11, which is after the flood, that we see people’s lifespans beginning to shorten (Noah himself was 950, one of the oldest people who’s ever lived). Noah’s son, Shem, lives 600 years. Shem’s son, Arpachshad, lives 438 years. A couple of generations later, Peleg lived 239 years. As the generations pass, gradually the lifespans get shorter. Still, people live uncommonly long lives. Abraham lives to be 175. Abraham’s grandson, Jacob, dies at the age of 147. We learn that all the way over in Genesis 47:28… remember that God’s statement about 120 years was made in Genesis 6! In the very last chapter of Genesis, chapter 50, we see that Jacob’s son, Joseph, lived to be 110.

My point in summarizing that? It took from Genesis 6 to Genesis 50, hundreds of years and multiple generations, for God’s word to be implemented.

God is never late. Nor is he early. He fulfills his word precisely when he means to.

God’s timing is not my timing. Sometimes it’s hard to wait on the Lord. But he’s always worth the wait.