The time before something is said to happen and before it happens is the interim-trial that purifies, refines, and develops our character. Here are two Bible individuals to think about.
Joseph was 17 when the Lord gave him two dreams. Both said that he would be a ruler over his brothers. That set up huge circumstances of opposition. Let me refresh your memory. He was sold as a slave. Yet in his slavery he prospered because the Lord was with him. Then he was falsely accused and throw into prison. Even in prison he prospered because the Lord was with him.
Psalm 105:16 says that God called for a famine. The famine did not arrive for seven years. Verse 17-18 says, “He sent a man before them–Joseph–who was sold as a slave. They hurt his feet with fetters, he was laid in irons.” All this took place in the interim. Verse 18 says, “Until the time that his word came to pass, the word of the Lord tested him.”
Now let’s go to Abraham. At the age of 75 the Lord told him to get out of his country and journey to another. The Lord promised him a son. There was an interim of at least 25 years. Romans 4:19 says, “And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah’s womb.”
The word, the interim, and the set time. Genesis 21:1-2 says, “And the Lord visited Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as He had spoken. For Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.”
I love Luke 1:45. Each time I get a new Bible I write it in the front. It says, “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” There are other verses. Isaiah 55:11 – His word will never return to Him void. Jeremiah 1:12 – He watches over His word to perform it.
Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” Job 42:2 says, “I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.”
The interim is a trial that builds the character needed for the foundation of the promise. Neither Joseph nor Abraham were ready for the word of the Lord to be fulfilled in the moment He spoke it. Neither are we ready until the Lord has tested His word in us. The dross must be refined for the metal of our character to come through the fire proven and ready for His purpose to be fulfilled.