The Patience of God - Part II
August 21, 2008 • By Ed Wrather
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him for whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives." If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. - Hebrews 12:5-11.
As I pointed out in part one, God has great patience with us, far more than we as humans have for each other. However, God does sometimes come to an end of allowing sinful behavior. If you are a child of God, if you really belong to Him, He will not allow you to walk in sin indefinitely. The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that God will discipline, chasten us, if we belong to Him.
God has been intervening in the affairs of human beings from the beginning of our existence to bring about correction. We are familiar with at least some of the more famous incidents - incidents such as Adam and Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden after they sinned. We remember hearing about Sodom and Gomorrah being utterly destroyed for their wickedness and the lack of righteousness. Of course, we remember hearing about the flood that destroyed all but Noah and his family because as we are told in Genesis 6:5-8, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’ But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord."
Then there was King Belshazzar (Daniel 5) who had the vessels from the house of God brought to a great feast where the King defiled the vessels and made toasts to false gods. This was the time when the hand mysteriously appeared and wrote on the wall saying essentially that the King was finished. Daniel interpreted the writing and that same night Belshazzar was killed and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom.
In the New Testament, there is the story of the rich farmer or rich fool who had the huge crop and decided to horde his harvest by building larger barns. He was just going to keep it all for himself and kick back and take it easy for the rest of his life. In Luke 12:20-21 we are told, "But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."
I think that it is clear that we would be fools to ignore what God wants in our lives. Yes, His patience is far greater than ours as human beings; however, at times God must intervene. If you are knowingly involved in sin, I urge you to stop testing the patience of God. Because God will chasten you, correct you, at some point in time if necessary. You can spare yourself, your family, and everyone in your circle of influence much pain by living in the center of God’s will for your life. Are you living as God wants you to live? If not, now is the time to change, now is the time to make a course correction, now is the time to move back to where God wants you to be.