God’s understanding of time is much different than our human perspective. As humans, we tend to view time in a chronological, sequential manner marked by hours, days, and years on a clock or calendar. We think in terms of deadlines, punctuality, and age milestones. But God operates on a very different timescale – what the ancient Greeks called “kairos” time.
Chronos – (G5550) denotes “a space of time,” whether short, e.g., Mat 2:7; Luk 4:5, or long, e.g., Luk 8:27; Luk 20:9; or a succession of “times,” shorter, e.g., Act 20:18, or longer, e.g., Rom 16:25, RV, “times eternal”; or duration of “time,” e.g., Mar 2:19, 2nd part, RV, “while” (KJV, “as long as”), lit., “for whatever time.” For a fuller treatment see SEASON, A, No. 2.
Kairos – (G2540), primarily “due measure, due proportion,” when used of “time,” signified “a fixed or definite period, a season,” sometimes an opportune or seasonable “time,” e.g., Rom 5:6, RV, “season”; Gal 6:10, “opportunity.” In Mar 10:30 and Luk 18:30, “this time” (kairos), i.e., “in this lifetime,” is contrasted with “the coming age.” (Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of the New Testament)
Chronos can be seen as basketball. Once the clock starts, then the game continues until the time runs out. Kairos is like chess, time goes by based on the response of each player. Baseball is also based on Kairos. It’s based on the response of each team as it plays versus the chronological time like basketball.
Understanding that God operates in time with Kairos, it allows us to understand that he’s not looking for a duration of time for our character to be built. He’s looking for a response in the time we are living now for us to move forward in His will.
Moses is an example of Kairos time. Moses was sent as a delivery when the people of God cried out. That was the first response. Another response that needed to be there was Moses’ heart needed to be humble and ready to follow God. Although Moses was imperfect, it was a response enough needed for God to use him.
We also see Kairos time with the Israelites in the wilderness, the wilderness years were only supposed to take about a couple of weeks, instead, what it took was 40 years. The major principle there is that God didn’t want them to spend time in the wilderness for 40 years, but he wanted them to respond humbly to God and follow him with a meek heart. If the Israelites responded the right way, then the wilderness years would only be a few weeks, however, because they responded by complaining and grumbling it took 40 years.
Our life is the same way, we can move forward in advancing God’s Will on earth in our life and those around us based on how long it takes for us to respond the way God desires for us to. Remember, God wants our entire heart, not just part of it. When He has all of our hearts then He could truly use us. When He doesn’t have our heart then we can’t be used by Him the way that He desires. That’s why it says in the Sermon on the Mount that the meek will inherit the earth.
God is looking for meek and gentle people to rule the earth with. He doesn’t want people who will do their own thing and pride and selfishness in their own strength. God is looking for people that live like Jesus. Even though Jesus was perfect and the Son of God, he still followed his Father’s will and meekness and humility. This is the example that God gives us to follow when we live our lives.
Moses’ Life and Calling
We see this clearly in how God dealt with Moses’ life and calling. Moses was born under oppression in Egypt, yet God’s appointed time to act on behalf of His people came when Israel cried out to Him in distress. Their response of desperation prompted God to move and call Moses. God was not working according to a human deadline but was attentive to the heart cry of His people in that pivotal moment.
Moses responded to God’s call, despite his hesitations and sense of inadequacy. He stepped out in obedience, however faltering. In doing so, Moses was positioned for God’s supernatural empowerment and equipped to carry out the task. The wilderness years wandering illustrates this principle again – what was meant to be a brief journey stretched out for 40 years due to Israel’s lack of response through complaining and distrust. Their hearts were not postured to move forward with God’s promises.
Intimacy Through Responsiveness
Moses grew in intimacy with God through humbling himself and learning to hear God’s voice. He responded to divine appointments and callings according to the purposes of God rather than human timing and limitations. Moses came to know God’s heart and character, being able to speak with Him “face to face, clearly and not in riddles” (Numbers 12:8).
As this example shows, God is always more concerned with our response in the moments He gives us rather than the duration of time itself. Our responsiveness and obedience in God’s kairos time is what positions us to walk in His will and blessings. We join His greater divine plan when we say yes.
Moses’ Life Shows the Importance of Responding to God’s Call and Timing
Moses’ life, from birth to death, illustrates the vital principle of responding promptly to God’s timing and direction.
God’s Call and Israel’s Response
When Moses was born, the Israelites were oppressed as slaves in Egypt. God did not move to deliver them according to a human timeline, but waited until their hearts responded through desperate cries for help. When Israel collectively turned their hearts toward God, He heard their cry and “remembered His covenant promise” (Exodus 2:23-25). Their posture of humility and dependency prompted God’s appointed time for action.
Moses’ Response Despite Inadequacy
God called Moses through the burning bush, commanding him to go to Pharaoh and deliver the Israelites. Moses felt inadequate for the task, asking “Who am I?” (Exodus 3:11). He recognized his own weaknesses – being “slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Yet Moses chose to obey God’s call despite hesitations and doubts. In response, Moses was positioned for God’s empowerment and equipping. God promises, “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (Exodus 4:12).
Wilderness Wandering and Missed Timing
What was intended to be a brief journey from Egypt to the Promised Land turned into 40 years of wilderness wandering for Israel due to their lack of response. At Kadesh Barnea, Israel balked at entering the land out of fear. Their faithless hearts caused them to miss God’s timing, so they wandered until the untrusting generation died off. Only Joshua and Caleb wholly followed the Lord (Numbers 14:26-35).
Growing in Intimacy Through Responsiveness
As Moses responded promptly to God’s call and leaned on God’s strength through inadequacy, he grew in intimacy with the Lord. Numbers 12:3 records that Moses was “very meek, more than all people who were on the face of the earth.” His humility cultivated a relationship so close that Moses spoke with God “face to face” rather than indirectly (Numbers 12:8).
Moses’ journey shows that responsiveness to God’s timing and direction, even imperfectly, is key to walking in His will and purpose for our lives.
Moses’ life illustrates some vital principles when it comes to responding to God’s timing and call:
- God looks at our heart response more than the duration of time – The Israelites were in slavery for years before God’s appointed time to act. When their hearts collectively cried out to Him, that became the kairos moment.
- Saying yes to God, even inadequately, positions us for His empowerment – Moses responded to God’s call despite feeling unqualified and unskilled. In stepping out in obedience, God equipped him for the task.
- Following God step-by-step, like a sheep following a shepherd, is key – Much was uncertain about the journey ahead for Moses. But he had to trust and follow God through each step, just as a sheep trusts the shepherd.
- God uses past experiences and skills but transformation comes by responding now – Moses likely learned leadership & communication skills growing up in Pharaoh’s court. God redeemed those for His purposes when Moses responded to His call.
- Walking yoked to Christ brings rest rather than anxiety – When we try to carry burdens alone we experience stress. Moses had to give his inadequacies to God rather than relying on himself. This allowed him to walk in the light yoke of partnership with God.
- An intimate, face-to-face relationship with God requires honor and reverence – Moses approached God with holy fear and awe, taking off his sandals. We must see God as He is – holy, transcendent, and “set apart” – in order to draw near.
These principles from Moses’ example remain highly relevant for believers today. Our prompt response to God’s voice and timing leads us to His purpose and blessing for our lives.
Reflecting on Moses’ life and call gives us important application points when it comes to responding to God’s timing and direction for our lives:
- Examine areas where you may need to respond based on God’s timing rather than chronological time – Just as with Moses, God may be waiting for our desperate cry for help. What needs or desires have you not brought to God? Humble yourself before Him.
- Identify any doubts or hesitations that are hindering response to God’s call – Like Moses, we may feel ill-equipped and inadequate. Remember that God will empower and equip you when you step out in faith. His strength is made perfect in weakness.
- Surrender burdens you are carrying alone and walk yoked to Christ – Are you relying on self-effort versus resting in partnership with God? Lay down control and trust His empowering presence. Let Him carry concerns too heavy for you.
- Trust God step-by-step in areas where the path ahead seems unclear – You may not know the full journey, just as Moses didn’t. Listen to God’s voice and follow Him one step at a time. He will guide your way.
- Ask God to develop immediate heart responsiveness – Don’t put off obedience thinking you’ll respond better tomorrow. Ask God to cultivate sensitivity and quickness to respond TODAY. Make small acts of obedience in this moment.
Questions for Reflection:
- When has God called you to something that seemed beyond your ability? How did you respond? What did you learn in the process about relying on His strength?
- Are there areas where you need to surrender control and begin to walk in partnership with God rather than self-effort? What is one way you can practice “yokedness” this week?
- What doubts or hesitations do you need to lay down in order to respond promptly to God’s call in your life? Are there first steps of obedience He is asking you to take?