Tag Archives: patience

“Does God’s patience run out?”

court-hammer

There has always been a question that has burnt its place in my mind, and all my meanderings and readings have not satisfied this question.  Soon I will be done with this essay, and I’ll have a much better grasp on this issue than before when I’m done, but until then I leave with you an excerpt.

I deal with the question of patience.  Does God’s patience run out with me?  Does it run out, at the 98th time I lose my temper, and I lose something, like a nice pretty jewel on my crown in heaven?  So I turned to the word and fervently searched the pages in search of an answer.

I’ve found (not exhaustively of course), that God’s patience was mainly exercised for our Salvation, and patience is replaced with discipline for those who love Him.  Here is an excerpt:

“The reason God shows kindness in his patience is that they who have lived a life against God would be given the chance to choose God.  Indeed it takes much spiritual work to undo the hardening of the sin encrusted soul.  But with one powerful word that God can utter, He changes the identity and nature of the perpetually sinning man; when God says, “This one is Mine!” Truly God’s mind has known that sinner as his even before the world was accepted, but the world obeys and acknowledges the admittance of another sinner into the kingdom. At that moment the unrepentant man is illuminated with the Holy Spirit, and its light shows him for who he really is, a man in need of a savior.

What a harrowing and deadly place it is to be on the ever shortening end of God’s patience. For the unrepentant man, patience does come to an end.  “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions…God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.”  (Romans 1:26, Romans 1:28)  The language here is definitely one of limit.  Here we get the clear picture that God’s patience is indeed not limitless to the one who is a “hater of God”.  The language here strongly depicts God handing over the unrepentant man to his own desires.  It is a mercy that God had previously kept them from such a state, but after God deems it necessary, he gives the sinful natured man over to his own sinful flesh, and it is in such a circle of selfishness he thus continues.  Man feeding sin, sin feeding man!  God has withdrawn His caring hand to this individual, and two things will happen.  If he repents, he will be saved, but if he continues to indulge in himself, the wrath of God is his.  “But for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” (Romans 2:8)

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“Stop playing the role of harlot! I love you!”

When someone sleeps deeply, loud voice and violent shakings are needed to wake them.  A slight whisper will not do.  So I also am about to use strong language, because many who may be reading this may be sleeping spiritually.  It is my goal to wake you.  I pray this may aid in waking you up to soberness!

The Bible often times uses strong language to communicate a point, to allow a message to awaken a people group, to shake sleepers from their slumber.  When one enters the spiritual lair of the evil one, every spiritual tool ought to be used to save.

What if God told you to marry the most beautiful woman in the land, but with one stipulation…she would become a harlot and break your heart?  This is what God told Hosea to do, during the reign of King Uzziah, a wicked king of Israel.  Israel had once again turned their backs on God, and God was through with it.  You ever wonder if God’s patience wears thin…well it does.  He said He had enough of this rebellion that He ordered the Assyrian peoples to come and invade and plunder the land of Israel.

Hosea was a prophet, and his message was not getting across to the Israelites of that time.  Repent!  Return to the Lord!  But no one would hear him.  God was about to ask Hosea to do a very hard thing.  He was asked by God to marry the most beautiful woman in the land, called Gomer.  Have three children by her, but God promised she would fall away and play the whore on the common streets.  What a way to start a marriage!!

The prophecy soon began to be fulfilled!  Gomer conceived a child and God told Hosea to name it “Not-Pitied” for God was done with pitying his people.  And soon after, Gomer gave birth to another child, and God told Hosea to name her “Not-My-People”.  If Israel would just repent, he would receive them back, but instead he embodied his sentiment with Israel in the common form of children.  Imagine what people were saying, “Isn’t that Hosea’s kid, Not-Pitied?”

And soon on queue, Gomer began to play the whore with various men while Hosea might have been gone on preaching trips.  Word got around, the most beautiful woman in Israel was now a prostitute, and could be found in the streets.  She herself was also embodying something profound; what Israel was doing to their relationship with God.  When Israel, or we who are found in Christ, pursue other gods, whether they be money, relationships, your children, anything that competes for the affection of God, we are in effect having an affair.  We are forsaking the love, the promises, the covenants we have with God, and pursuing other things.

The story doesn’t stay like this, just as God doesn’t stay at arms length from us, for those who repent.  God said in Hosea He would once again have pity on Not-Pitied, and he would once again call his people who were Not-My-People.

To me, this may be one of the most beautiful pictures of love in the Old Testament.  Embodying the sentiment of love and the desire for restoration, Hosea goes to Gomer in her low estate, as her recent lover couldn’t pay for her food or her clothes.  Even though a spear had been thrust through Hosea’s heart as he heard, rumor upon rumor, how unfaithful Gomer had been, love triumphed gloriously.  With strides of zeal for his bride who was still his, he rescued her!  He went to her!  He bought her back!  He called to her, “Gomer, you will be mine again, and you will NOT play the whore anymore.  I love you!  You will no longer be with any other man, and I promise the same to you.”  Here is how the book of Hosea puts it.

“And the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley. 3 And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.” …. Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.”

–         Hosea 3:1-3

Oh see how our God loves us?  It’s not like He loves someone who is lovable and is ready for His love.  Romans says we were actually in enmity with God, before he reached out to us.  We were enemies of God, when he considered to love us!  For His glory, lets be real.  We were not simply lost, like someone without a way.  We were actively pursuing other lovers.  We were enthralled with the world.  We were pleased with sin, therefore putting us in enmity with God.  We ourselves, like Israel were playing the role of harlot!

How great a love is this, that would choose to love harlots!  If that’s not a poor investment, I don’t know what is.  But God’s love is different…it changes us, it transforms us, and it readies us to be lovers of the not so lovable.

The scriptures say, Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart.  What is God saying to you?

If you feel like talking with your Father and dealing with whatever is on your heart, please do so, and perhaps let this worship song aid your time with our loving God.