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God is loving and patient, despite our unfaithfulness
Thinking of God
Larry Sheehy
Larry Sheehy

If you read the Bible carefully, you can pick up on some patterns that are important. One of these is that mankind, generally and specifically, isn’t very appreciative of God. We are too self-centered, too fixated on our perceived needs to be concerned too much about what the Lord is doing for us, or his will for us. This is a generalization, but it’s still true.

None illustrate this any more than the people created by God for himself. The ancient nation of Israel, descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were stubborn, ungrateful people, even though chosen by Yahweh (the ancient name of God) to be the nation through whom the world’s entire population, from beginning to end, would be spiritually blessed. 

They spent hundreds of years in Egypt, most of it as slaves. Their God brought them out of that slavery in a way that demonstrated his glory and his love for them. When they complained that Moses had led them into the desert to die of hunger and thirst, they were miraculously given water and food. Protected from their enemies at the crossing of the Red Sea and in their defeat of the aggressive Amalekites, they were led through the desert to “the mountain of God,” Mount Sinai (Exodus 24:13). There they received the “Ten Commandments,” the foundation for the complete Law of Moses. In spite of God’s continually demonstrated love for them, they continued to fluctuate between obedience and rebellion throughout their history. 

At this point, some may be wondering, “Why the history lesson?” The apostle Paul best answers in his letter to the church at Rome. “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). 

Earlier in the same letter, he cautioned his readers against showing “...contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience,” because, even though they might not realize it, “God’s kindness leads you toward repentance” (Romans 2:4).

Regardless of whether we’re Christians or not, his patience and love is exhibited toward everyone. Men and women everywhere are provided the necessities of life by a benevolent Creator (Acts 14:17). Peter answered the skepticism of unbelievers in the first century A.D. by reminding Christians who were confronted by them that because Jesus hadn’t returned as he had promised, he would come again, contending that God “…is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Just as God was patient with the Israelites, he is patient with us. And, just as his patience with them ran out when they cruelly  rejected his Son, it will come to an end for all who turn away from  him as “the way, and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). 

As Peter encourages, we should remember that “our Lord’s patience means salvation” (2 Peter 3:15). That salvation is available to everyone who will turn to him in faith and obedience. 

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