Saturday, July 8, 2017

God is Sometimes a Fourth-Watch God

Christ walking on the sea, by Amédée Varint
Oh how I wish God was always a first watch God! Don't we all!!  Sometimes He is! I have countless experiences, as I'm sure you all do, of  God hearing and answering a prayer or a pleading immediately.  But sometimes, that is not His will. Sometimes the Lord's will is for us to experience some struggle and for things NOT to go the way we expect. If the Lord was there to answer  our prayer RIGHT when we wanted, and exactly how we wanted,  there would be no growth.  Our roots would not dig down deep, and when storms came, we would not have the faith to with stand the winds. I know its in the 2nd and 3rd watch that I am really tested and really grow to become who God needs me to be. He comes in the 4th watch when it really matters, and He. does. come. 

6 months ago, my husband's employment of 18 years, ended. Since then, we have struggled to understand the whys and how comes, and now whats? We have come to the knowledge that the  Lord will try His people as we have tried to be disciples of Christ. Because of that, I know the Lord is with us, and has a plan for the sudden upheaval in our family's life. Until then, we wait on Him, and turn over every stone, and go down every path we know of to find new employment.

The idea of God sometimes being a 4th watch God comes from the New Testament, and came to me from a friend who knew I needed to be reminded of how God does deliver His people in our times of trial and waiting on Him, but it is sometimes in the fourth watch, when you think the time is past.

For information purposes, the Hebrew nights was  roughly divided into 4 watches:

  • 6:00 PM-9:00PM = 1st watch
  • 9:00 PM- Midnight= 2nd watch
  •  Midnight-3:00 AM= 3rd watch
  • 3:00 AM-Sunrise= 4th watch

In the days of Abraham and Sarah of the Old Testament, God watched Abraham and Sarah carefully
thru their righteous, faithful lives.  Abraham was 99 and Sarah 89 when God made the Abrahamic Covenant with them that they would have an increase of seed without end.  Sarah was 90 when she gave birth to Isaac, a time in a womans' life when it is way past the child bearing years, she delivered her first-born child and became a mother. Isaac was later also saved from death when Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac in what would appear to us to be the last minute, the fourth watch.  (Genesis 21)

In another time on the sea of Galilee we see the disciples on the water.

The term "fourth watch" comes from an account in Mark in the New Testament when the Savior came to them in what was the literal "fourth watch". After the Savior fed the 5,000 he sent His Apostles away down to the Sea of Galilee. During the night a storm comes up. It was a bad enough storm in John's account the Apostles row for the equivalent of approximately 75 football fields against the wind. They are exhausted, tired, and their hope is starting to grow thin. Sound familiar?

Mark 6:48
And he saw them toiling in rowing; for the wind was contrary unto them: and about the fourth watch of the night he cometh unto them, walking upon the sea, and would have passed by them. 

This is such a perfect phrase, the wind was contrary to them, and that they toiled in rowing. I know I toil in rowing against the wind.  We are fighting and pushing through our trials, we want it to be over, but its not yet, so we have to keep rowing until relief comes.

John 6:19
  So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus        walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. 

Thirty furlongs is the equivalent of 75 football field in  length against the wind. That literally exhausts me thinking of that, but we've all been there before in that type of struggle through a trial or hardship.
The Savior saw  them in their struggle on the sea and was looking down on them from the mountain area he was in near the sea. Don't you think the Lord looks down on us in our struggling?  He's watching us toil in our rowing in contrary winds, and we may not know He sees us.

Then in the 4th watch of the night, He came unto them walking on the water. 

The Lord is sometimes a Fourth-Watch God.  I know there have been many times when the prayer was answered in the 11th hour and 59 seconds! There must be something to the timing of God waiting, and us waiting on Him, toiling in rowing, contrary winds, then the rescue comes. Before that hour, we may assume He will not bless us, He is not there, He is not listening, or we aren't worthy or good enough in some way. 

We need to remember we ARE good enough, He is there watching and waiting.  We have not yet reached the fourth watch, and when we reach it, He will come.