The OT knows a concern for the ‘right’ time. The change of tenancy of Canaan – from Amorite to Israelite illustrates that concern. In the biblical revelation, Yahweh’s decision that the time had come for the takeover presented as ‘right’ or proper from the perspectives of both peoples.
The people of Israel had gone down to Egypt during Joseph’s premiership and then on their return, only with disappearance of those who had no trust in Yahweh as the Lord of time and space could Joshua and Caleb lead the people into their new inheritance across the Jordan.
At that moment, the Amorites dominated the seven nations of Canaan. The first five defeated and that consolidated their hold on the land and their later routing of the northern Amorite confederacy, near the waters of Merom.
The OT proclaims that Yahweh was intimately involved in these military victories of the late thirteenth century BC. Later of course that would become slaves again, ill-treated, and abused, but held by God’s hand until the time came for Abraham’s descendants, in the fourth generation to return to Canaan.
What was significant of the victories of Joshua, from the Amorite point of view? The sin of the Amorites in rejecting the Creator God called forth a reckoning, even if delay after delay expended in the hope of a change of heart.
Amorite is as much in view in salvation history as Israelite. If they reject Him, they will die in the wilderness (Israelites) or on the battlefield (Amorites). The OT understanding of time speaks of more than mere human making of history.
The idea of the ‘right’ moment is in the parallel context of Israel’s exile and return to Palestine. The king moved by the Lord to offer for the return to Jerusalem of some of the people of Israel to rebuild the Temple.
When the repairs in Jerusalem are then opposed by human forces, the timing of a King Artaxerxes’ glance to his cup-bearer brings new resources to bear. Actions on this earth are in the acts of a holy, but involved, God in heaven.
The Bible has a strong sense of the ‘right’ time. Scripture underlines significance of times and seasons.
The Bible distances itself from the kind of amoral view of time expressed in popular Islam. Time’s unfolding interprets what is going on in the relationship between the Creator and His creation.
The biblical hope to extended to ordinary Muslims is that evil, or less auspicious times are radically reversed in a new relationship with the Lord of time and history. The present time, for all people, is the hour of God’s favour, the day of salvation —
For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” – 2 Corinthians 6:2
Gaudeul describes the special moment in the 1980s when 72 members of a Sudanese clan became Christians after a series of vision.
The role of supernatural factors in the decision process of Muslims is also confirmed by Gaudeul (1999:222) who mentions as one reason for the conversion of Muslims to the Christian faith “a call from God.” His explanation describes also the Sudanese situation well: Muslim converts to Christianity often speak of their religious experience in terms of visions, dreams, voices. Why is that so frequent? There may be two explanations. First, God’s call is being repressed and pushed back into the subconscious. As a result, it has to ‘raise its voice’ to make itself heard. Secondly, the cultural background of most converts is very similar to that of the Bible where such phenomena are considered as normal.
The ‘strange encounter’, reminiscent of Cornelius and the Ethiopian eunuch, came at the ‘right time’ for the Muslim clan and these relocated people moved their spiritual residence to Christ.
In secular Britain, a young woman brought up a Muslim – shocked to discover herself entertaining doubts about her Islamic heritage. Ten years later, looking back on a history of family rejection and persecution as a Christian in Britain from a Muslim background, the young woman could recount the pinpoint timing of God’s whispering into her soul.