Isaiah 60:21-22 (ESV)
Your people shall all be righteous;
they shall possess the land forever,
the branch of my planting, the work of my hands,
that I might be glorified.
The least one shall become a clan,
and the smallest one a mighty nation;
I am the LORD;
in its time I will hasten it.
Isaiah 60 describes the restoration of the Jerusalem. They will be a wealthy, sought after, honored people who live in peace and prosperity. The Lord will be in their midst. As God was a light to the Israelis in the Wilderness, leading them as a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day, so now the presence of God in their midst will be their light. They will be a people living in righteousness, glory, and peace in the presence of YHWH.
Reading the description of God’s promise, one could get impatient waiting for its fulfillment. I can just imagine people’s thinking 700 years after Isaiah, at the time of Christ. The promise would either seem unreal, and people would long ago have stopped looking for it, or they would be impatient with God wondering when he will fulfill his promise. We are an impatient people.
We want God’s promises, and we want them now. But the chapter ends with these words, “I am the LORD; in its time I will hasten it.” Those three little words, “in its time,” call us to patience and faith. I recall years ago an elderly man of God asking about the spiritual state of a mutual acquaintance. I said that I thought perhaps his family had given up on him. He looked at me, pointed his finger at me, and said, “You never give up.” God accomplishes his purpose “in its time.”
We don’t know the timing of God. But he does. He never forgets his promises. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness” (2Pet 3:9). The verse goes on to say, “but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” God’s timing has to do with God’s patience and God’s purpose. We want answers now. We want results now. We are an impatient people. But God’s timing is perfect. Psalm 18:30 says of God, “His way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.” He can be trusted even when he does not work in our time. We don’t know the timing of God, but “His way is perfect.” Trust him and be patient.