THE PATIENCE OF GOD (part 2)

The Bible does not say that God has no anger. But He has it on a regulator. His love is eternal; His patience is not. There comes a time when He acts on His anger.

Some want God’s patience with them but not with their enemies. They feel tension between justice and mercy. Jonah voted for justice. The Assyrians had butchered too many people. Think ISIS. God had a reputation for being too merciful. Jonah quoted God’s own words in his complaint: “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love…”(Jonah 4:2).

God was grieved with Israel the whole time they lived in the land of promise before finally throwing them out–seven centuries after they had entered. He waited thousands of years before sending His Son in the fullness of time. Pentecost marked the beginning of the end, “the last days.” God has waited for 2100 years so far without sending His Son back because “the Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). No one waits better than God.

Imagine if God were quick to anger. We’d all have bruises. He’d yell at us. He would say things like, “If you ever do that again…” or “Just one more time…”  We would have pressed the delete button on the human race long ago, but God suffers long. I remember God speaking to me in the gentlest way about something that needed change. I said, “You could have said this twenty-five years ago, and you waited until now.” It made me want that kind of patience.

A wonderful lady at our church in San Pedro was angry with God for nine years for something regarding her child. God waited. He didn’t shake His finger in her face. When she came in for personal confession, the road back began. Her heart was flooded with joy, tears of release, and deep peace. God waited until she was ready–nine years.

“For my name’s sake I will defer my anger…” (Isa 48:9). God procrastinates. He controls His emotions; they do not control Him. He decides when He will demonstrate anger. People say, “You made me angry,” which gives them the freedom to explode, as if they couldn’t help it. This is not our God. Patience is one of the marks of His righteous character, unlike oriental despots who in a moment of rage would dismiss a whole court.

How can God keep from acting when daily the world defames His name, mocks Him, ignores Him? Because He is longsuffering. One day He will pour out his anger without measure. He is angry with the wicked every day, and with great cause. He is never neutral about sin. It is an offense against His holiness. But He chooses not to call upon His anger in full measure at this time.

Sometimes we parents have disciplined poorly, because we were irritated, and we let it lead the parade instead of patience. God’s correction is deliberate–a sign of his love. We can feel compassion even when He exercises discipline. Could anyone use some of that? Praise Him for His patience! (Part 3 coming).

2 comments on “THE PATIENCE OF GOD (part 2)

  1. Excellent word Pastor Paul. A very solemn reminder of two truths we need to hold in tension: slow to anger, but angry all the same. Jonathan Edwards got it right. Sinners ARE in the hands of an angry God.

    We who are evangelists need to remember this portion of the Good News. We have lost the plot in most of our modern evangelistic messages. The truth is, the Nations who forget God are all under His judgment and subject to His future wrath. That is why we are commissioned by Jesus to visit them and announce the Kingdom, and offer God’s mercy.

    It’s important to remember to preach Romans, chapters 1 to 5, before we bring forth 6 to 8. We must preach the character of God once again. In His perfect holiness, He resists sin and all that is rebelling against Him. We must preach sin and rebellion before we center on Agape love, grace and mercy (depending, of course, on both our audience & context).

    The cross of Jesus Christ must be preached before the resurrection. As we all look back on that solemn event, it is a reminder of the reality of God’s anger: His wrath poured out upon the Sin Offering, & a reminder of the soon coming Final Judgement, where all will meet before His Throne of Righteousness.

    As we look back in history and see the crucifiction we must remind our audience that the Lamb is coming again…and John sees Him in Revelation with wrath…”the wrath of the Lamb…”

    Repentance is the greatest gift He has given us…and I am so moved to be reminded again that He truly is, “slow to anger.” Thank you Pastor.

  2. So true, Carl. One man wrote to me saying that God the Father would have to forgive Jesus for not doing His job right if the wrath is there. I suggested that he read Revelation 6, written long after the cross. This is our last day in Latvia. Tonight we fly to Finland for a week.

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