God’s Timing and His Ways – D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

I was reading D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermons on Romans 1 and came across this portion at the end of chapter 7, where he’s preaching from verse 2. He’s speaking here about how vitally important and reassuring the Old Testament is to us.

There are two things here that really speak directly to my heart and remind and comfort me deep down which I wanted to share. First, is the fact that God’s timing is perfect, but often not what we would expect. And, the second is the last part where he uses Hitler as an example. I think it’s possibly the best example you could find for the importance of the Bible as a whole (and here specifically, the Old Testament as a whole.)

“… you and I must learn to submit ourselves utterly and absolutely to God’s ways and never question them. I am a preacher, says Paul, of wonderful good news. Ah yes, but God had said aforetime that it was going to happen and going to come; but all the centuries passed and nothing seemed to happen. What is the lesson? Just this – put yourself, and everything that is a concern to you, entirely in the hands of God. His ways may seem strange. You remember He tells us through Isaiah,

‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’

Put your case into His hands. Is it a personal problem in your life? Leave it there, Are you worrying about the conversion of some dear one? You have been praying for years and nothing seems to happen, and you are on the point of giving up, and you say, What is the use? If you feel like that, go back to the Old Testament and realize that after God gave the promise about the seed of the woman in the garden of Eden, four thousand long years passed before the seed of the woman actually came and was born as a babe in Bethlehem.Don’t give up.That is God’s method. These are God’s ways. I don’t understand them, but that is the teaching of the Old Testament. That is what I deduce from this little verse in brackets. [(Romans 1:2)]

Or are you troubled about the state of the church, the dwindling congregations, the plight of the world, the might of the world, the organizations of the world, and all these things? Oh, I say, go back to the Old Testament and take hold of the comfort and consolation of the Scripture. Or are you troubled by something that has happened in the world today? Then put it in the context of the Old Testament.
I was never worried for a second about a man like Hitler; it was enough for me to read the thirty-seventh Psalm, and there I read of a man like him spreading himself like a green bay tree, a sort of colossus striding the whole earth. But I read on and learned that a day came when a man wanted to go to see him and to speak with him, and he could not find him. He searched everywhere for him; he could not find any trace of him; he had vanished. Why? God had blown upon him.” (bold, italics, and underlining added)

I hope this spoke to you. This example about Hitler he gives when put in the context of the Old Testament is so potent, but even more so, to me, coming from a man that lived through the world war II era.

  1. I love this post! I really like the part about giving your worries to God, so relevant for me right now. Thanks for sharing this Billy!

  2. Billy said:

    Thanks for reading, guys!

  3. Giford said:

    Mmm, pretty strange to hear someone say that they 'weren't worried for a moment' about Hitler. Shouldn't we be working to make this world as good a place as possible?

  4. Billy said:

    It is strange. On the other hand, he's trying to make a point. His point here is that the Bible speaks of a man like Hitler who would one day not be found. If you believe the Bible is God's word, then you realize that you have to take and believe everything it says. Beyond that, I think what his broader point in the entire section (emphasized in particular by this statement of trust in God) is that God orchestrates history with all the mastery and control of a great artist.To add to this, the Bible conveys to us that God has a great love for us as his creation. And because of this, when looking at tyrants and world events which seem massively foreboding and out of our hands, it seals our comfort to know that God's position towards mankind is in the end of love. And, because we know that he is active and in control, this brings D.M. to make this statement. It is absolutely not because he condones anything about Hitler. You have to remember that during the war (as far as I can tell) there was more of a worry that Hitler would take over the world and subject it to his control, rather than what his character and morals might have been lacking.

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