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When is the Right Time?

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Time has been on my mind a lot lately. I think about how I’m using my time, and how my choices are a reflection of my relationship with God. Yet, for all that time has to offer, sometimes we find that our choices are more about timing, then they are about time itself. We may think, I want to buy a house – but when is the right time? I want to tell him I love him – but when is the right time? I want to ask for a promotion – but when is the right time? The timing of our decisions can become obsessive when we start relying on self, more than we do on God. So let’s take a look at one of the most popular stories in the Old Testament – the Story of David & Goliath – to see what we can learn about finding “the right time”.

David & Goliath

Many of us know of this story found in 1 Samuel 17. Israel and the Philistines were readying to battle. Goliath, one of the Philistine soldiers, came out each day to challenge the soldiers of Israel to a one-on-one fight. He would say in verses 8 & 9:

Why have you come out to line up for battle? Am I not a Philistine, and you the servants of Saul? Choose a man for yourselves, and let him come down to me. If he is able to fight with me and kill me, then we will be your servants. But if I prevail against him and kill him, then you shall be our servants and serve us.” 

We often remember Goliath as a fearful giant, yet the scriptures first refer to him as a champion (verse 4). We can infer that his height and size made him known for being a winner in battle. Nevertheless, the choice of the word champion showed us how the Israelite soldiers view themselves – as losers. For 40 days and 40 nights Goliath taunted the Israelites, and still, no one would rise to the occasion. As time passed by, one could say – maybe the Israelites were wondering why God was doing nothing. Yet, I would say, that God too was waiting – He was waiting for an Israelite to have the courage to do something.

David Rises to the Occasion

One fateful day, David, the youngest son in his family, was sent to the battlegrounds to provide food for his three oldest brothers, who were soldiers. While there, David happened to hear the same challenge from Goliath. David then spoke out to the soldiers, and asked “For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?” (verse 26). His brother, Eliab, heard him and became upset, however David remained firm.

The soldiers reported back to the King what David said, and King Saul sent for David. There is often a misconception that David went to King Saul to volunteer to fight Goliath. Instead, David was summoned. And while with King Saul he said: “Let no man’s heart fail because of him; your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.” (verse 32). With humility and reverence, David was willing to do what no one else would.

King Saul responded in verse 33 and said: “You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.” To King Saul, it wasn’t the right time for David to become a solider. But for David, now was the right time to stand for God. It was his unwavering faith and trust in God that made it the right time, and the right decision. There is so much more to the story, but know this… David killed Goliath. So yes, this is very much a story of courage and faith, but note, this is also a story of timing.

Lessons on Timing from David & Goliath

There are a few key takeaways from this story worth highlighting:

  • You don’t need to force God’s timing: He will lead you to exactly where you need to be, when you need to be there. David didn’t go looking to fight a giant, he just wanted to honor God. Because of his relationship with God, David was able to be in the right place at the right time. So often we find ourselves in the waiting periods in our journeys but let me caution you this: Timing is often about us, and where we are in the journey. If you’re waiting on God, make sure God isn’t waiting on you.
  • Trusting God’s timing can mean disregarding someone else’s: King Saul may have thought it wasn’t the right time for David, but David knew otherwise. David, however, could have only known this to be true if he had a close relationship with God. It’s the only way we can ensure that other people’s opinions do not supersede God’s voice in our hearts. Remember, even if someone has the best of intentions with the advice they are giving you, God’s game plan most always come first.
  • God’s timing isn’t dependent on man’s solutions: When King Saul agreed to David battling Goliath, he provided David with his armor. David rejected King Saul’s armor, because he had not “tested” them. David had no experience with the armor, so it was of no use to him. What I appreciate about David, is that he knew that this was his time to honor God. Even if to others, what he had was insufficient, for God it was enough. With God as our source, we should give Him the space to manifest Himself in our lives as He sees best, when He sees best. This many seem contrary to others, but that’s okay. Remember, King Saul didn’t have a bad idea with giving David his armor, it’s just that God had a better one.

Is there a Right Time?

We often say – there is never a right time, just start. But I disagree. There is a right time, but that right time might look a little different than we expect. The example of David shows us that the right time correlates to the right character. As we are searching for the right timing, God is patiently waiting for us to become the right people. And that doesn’t mean perfection, but instead spiritual submission and alignment with God’s will. When we are moving towards who God would have us to be, He is then able to use us in a way that glorifies His name. His wisdom and discernment will seep into our souls as we recognize His will in all that we do. We’ll stop questioning as much because we’ll start trusting more and more. So if you ever have the question – when is the right time… I recommend that you first seek God. He’ll give you what’s needed to decide what to do next.

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