by: Dr. Bob Gray, Sr.
2 Samuel 10:5, “When they told it unto David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed: and the king said, Tarry at Jericho until your beards be grown, and then return.”
The Ammonites were the descendants of one of the illegitimate children born to Lot’s daughter who became pregnant by her father Lot. This happened after Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Ammon had a new king and David, the king of the people of God, decided to send messengers down to Ammon when the son of the old king had taken over. These messengers sent greetings to the new king. They came to pay their respects and to do homage to the son of the old king now the new king.
However, some princes had the idea that these messengers were there to cause trouble. These princes said they were there to spy out the land. Suspicion has always played into the hand of Satan.
These princes had the messengers grabbed, cut off their trousers and then cut half of their beards off. Which half I do not know. Vertically or horizontally cut the Bible does not say, but for these men this was a humiliating experience.
In the first place, for a man to wear short breeches is humiliating for a man. In the second place, for a man in those days to have his beard cut off was a sign of disgrace. It intimated in that day that they were Sodomites. The short breeches and the half cut beard were saying these men were perverted. For these men to go back to Jerusalem and face the king and the people with shorts in combination to a half cut beard would be the worst of all humiliation.
After this report was given to King David, he sent a message to his men, “Tarry at Jericho” until your beards are grown back. David told his men not to come back and embarrass themselves with a half beard and wearing shorts. David knew this would be an embarrassment to them publicly. David tells them to let their beards grow back and buy some pants, then come back to Jerusalem and we will give you proper honor.
The messengers stayed there until their beards grew back and they had some modest trousers to wear. In other words, “NOT NOW!” TARRY AT JERICHO.
God is saying to us here that there is a time to do what we ought to do. There was a time for them to come back to Jerusalem. They did not have to stay at Jericho forever, but King David said now is not the time to come back. It is a good thing to go to Jerusalem, but it was not a good thing to go now. David was saying there will be a time to come, but now is not the time.
There is a time to do what you ought to do and there is a time not to do what you ought to do. For example, I believe there is a time when holding hands with the opposite sex is a wonderful thing. I believe kissing is a wonderful invention by God if it is with the opposite sex at the appointed time.
There is nothing wrong or wicked with hand holding, but high school, junior high or college is not the time appointed. There is an appointed time at the altar for hand holding, kissing, and embracing. The time to hold hands, kissing, and embracing are not in junior high, high school, or college.
I would often tell the students at our college that if they did not want to kiss their girlfriend I was going to ship them home, and if you do kiss your girlfriend I am going to ship them home. I would tell them that their job was to want to kiss her for four years and my job was to keep you from kissing her for four years.
Nothing wrong with holding hands if you will tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown. Nothing wrong with an embrace between a male and female if you will tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown. Nothing wrong with smooching and having a big time if you will tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown. You are to wait until the appointed time which is after marriage.
You will enjoy the hand holding at the appointed time. You will enjoy the embracing at the appointed time. You will enjoy the kissing at the appointed time.
There are a lot of things we ought to do and things that God wants us to do, but He does not want us to do them until the appointed time; but NOT NOW.
King Saul had said to his people that they were in a battle and that as long as they were in this battle no one could eat anything until the battle was over. The battle is over, but no one was to eat until the evening time. Saul’s son Jonathan did not hear his father’s instructions. He saw honey dripping and he took his rod and stuck the rod into the honey and ate some of it. The people told him not to do it. However, it is too late, his father had made a rule that no one was to eat any honey until the battle is over. Why, because this is not honey time. Victory time is honey time. Hold it, there is nothing wrong with honey. In fact, the Scriptures admonish us to eat honey. God recommends eating honey, but there is an appointed time to eat honey but NOT NOW.
Luke 14:28-30, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him. Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.”
Herod and his people had built Herodian mansions all over the area and some people wanted to copy them and build one for themselves. Thus they started duplicating those mansions, and soon they found out they did not have enough money to finish the projects. As a result, all over the countryside there were partially built Herodian mansions. People who started to build but did not count the cost were humiliated. God is making it plain there is a time to do good, do right and to build, but it is at God’s appointed time. There are so many things God has for us to do, but we are not supposed to do them until God’s appointed time. In other words, NOT NOW.
I am glad God created marriage. The late Dr. Bob Billings, who was president of Hyles-Anderson College, use to say, “I didn’t know what happiness was until I got married and then it was too late.” I recommend marriage. I want our young people to marry, but somehow the young people have the idea that their parents and the authorities in their life do not want them to date let alone marry. That is just not true! We just do not want you to marry the wrong one. I want the young ladies and young men to find the right one so they will be happy; however, they will flop if they do not wait until God’s appointed time. High school and college is not the right time. NOT NOW! Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown and you are wearing big boy pants.
Young men who shave with a pair of tweezers or manicure scissors are not ready to marry. Do not marry too soon. NOT NOW! The Scripture says, “Seek not a wife.” Some of our young people are marrying too soon. NOT NOW!
My son who was a very successful youth director for 21 years used to say there are three phases young couples go through: first, “I like you,” second, “I love you,” and third “I do!” Learn to tarry at Jericho. The further you can delay marriage the better off you will be. You then can be financially, emotionally, spiritually and educationally ready. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown and you are wearing big boy pants. God has an appointed time for marriage and it may be NOT NOW. Slow down your romancing. Quit talking too each other so much. Have fun together with activities more than you do with too much serious talk. Be open with your parents about every thing. Spend more time on a date having a good time than talking so seriously about life. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown.
The great late Dr. John R. Rice and Mrs. Rice were engaged for five years and then Dr. Rice thought it was too soon to marry! You may be ripening too soon. Plan your dates! You wait until the appointed time before you hold her hand, kiss her, or embrace her until you are able to support her!
Too many of our freshmen and sophomores in college think they have it all together and are ready for the real world. “But preacher, the world is going to Hell and I can’t wait.” You will do more in fifty years with training than you will in 52 years without training. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown and you are wearing big boy pants. Stay in high school and earn your diploma. Stay in college and earn your degree. Do not go out half-cocked and half-prepared. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown.
I can name dozens who did not tarry at Jericho and left unprepared and they are doing nothing for God. You would not want a surgeon to operate on you before he finished medical school. It is like one student said to me, “I don’t know what I don’t know!” He meant it one way, but the truth is the opposite of what he thought. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown and you are wearing big boy pants.
Our teenagers do not need cars. I could name dozens of teens who are unfaithful to their God all because they had a car while being a teen. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown and you are wearing long pants.
Young married ladies do not need a dishwasher when you are first married. You do not need to go to Hawaii when you are twenty. You do not need a $30,000 car when you are in your twenties. You do not need a $100,000 house in the early days of your marriage. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown and you are wearing long pants.
You are stealing from your future, and when you future arrives you will be bankrupt emotionally, spiritually, financially, and materially. Grade schooler, don’t steal from your junior high years. Junior higher, please do not steal from your high school years. High schooler, please do not steal from your college years. College students, please do not steal from your young married years. Young married couples, please do not steal from your middle-aged years. Tarry at Jericho. Be patient and learn to say, NOT NOW.
Do not use up your future or you will have no future. Many are married too soon, get a new car too soon, get new appliances too soon, get a new house too soon and new furniture too soon. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown and you are wearing long pants.
No one ought to retire at 55! Americans are using up their lives before they are forty years of age. They have seen everything, had everything, done everything, bought everything and been everywhere. Save some of your life for later. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown and you are wearing long pants.
Marriage is beautiful in His time. Life’s work is beautiful in His time. Embracing is beautiful in His time. Kissing is beautiful in His time. Having things is beautiful in His time. There is an unhappiness that exits in the lives of some of God’s people simply because they do not do it in God’s time.
Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…”
There is a time for everything. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown. Every major mistake made by God’s people is deciding to do something outside of God’s timing. If it is right to do the Scriptures will give you a green light, your youth director will give you a green light, your counselors will give you a green light, your parents will give you a green light, your principal will give you a green light and your preacher will give you a green light. Tarry at Jericho until your beard is grown and you are wearing long pants.
- Do not rush the phases of your life.
- Enjoy each phase of your life.
- Learn from those who have been where you are.
- Expect to learn from life.
- Enjoy the now.
- Learn from the now.
- Take what you have learned to the next phase of life.
- Do not let those who rush the phases of life intimidate you.
Dr. Bob Gray, Sr.
Longview Baptist Temple