The Patience of God
You read the title for today so I ask you, what is your image of God?
Not his physical image but the image of God that you have as to His being.
Personally I believe that he has a physical presence much like ours.
Being created in the image of God says that for me.
We also have the power to create as part of being in His image.
We also are spirit as being in His image.
I am afraid that all to often we are living in the mess that we have created.
Mostly by what we believe and expect.
What do you believe and expect?
Much of this goes to attitude.
I believe that part of our ability to create is to live in what we believe we deserve.
Is part of faith just that?
Maybe you like the word expect better than deserve.
I expect great things, I always have.
How about you?
If God the Almighty was not patience this earth would not exist any longer.
The Bible calls it Longsuffering.
Good word, longsuffering.
I have had a bad neck since High School, is that longsuffering.
It hurts most of the time, yet I am able to sleep.
Maybe I should say it bothers me most of the time.
I am aware of it most of the time.
It is not a sharp pain just a dull pain that lets me know that it is there.
I am sure that most of you live with such discomfort.
It is a daily reminder that I am alive.
For there is no pain in death, just life.
Are you as patient as is God?
Can you listen to complaints for 500 years before the timing is right to remedy the situation?
It is an obvious fact that God’s timing is different than our timing.
I just trust him to have my best interest at heart.
Text: “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked. Nahum 1:3 of 1:1-8
I did not remember Nahum at all.
The book follows Micah.
It is all of four pages in my study Bible.
It has three chapters.
The focus of the book is the Lord’s judgment on Nineveh for her oppression, cruelty, idolatry and wickedness.
It ends with the destruction of the city. Nahum states that God is not only slow to anger and a refuge for those who trust in Him, but also one who will not leave the guilty unpunished.
God’s righteousness and just kingdom will ultimately triumph, for kingdoms built on wickedness and tyranny must eventually fall, as Assyria did.
Nahum declares the universal sovereignty of God.
God is Lord of history and of all nations; as such he controls their destinies.
The name Nahum means comfort.
The book is about the comfort of the Lord.
Nineveh’s sin reached the Lord and he sent Jonah and they repented but it did not last long.
Their state after Jonah was much worse than before and God was about to judge Nineveh for their sin.
Nahum is a contemporary of Zephaniah and a young Jeremiah.
Nineveh had to be destroyed.
God’s holiness and power were at stake.
The arrogant capital of Assyria had to be judged because the One who controls the forces of nature must not and certainly cannot allow the guilty to remain unpunished.
Like Obadiah, Nahum saw utter destruction of one of Israel’s arch-enemies.
Nahum was justified in his utterance for he saw the injustice and lack of morality.
God’s prophets must declare God’s judgment because they must uphold God’s holiness and sovereignty.
They also must encourage their fellow worshipers who are seeking to live in accordance with God’s commands.
Nahum was a great man who has an important place in both history and prophecy.
Nahum saw God’s presence in the world in a very special way and spoke graphically of it.
His God was no absentee deity.
God was neither aloof nor apathetic.
God is with His people in the good times and in the hard times.
When we are oppressed by a sense of inadequacy, we find our sufficiency in God.
He either removes the problem or gives us the strength to bear it.
This truth must be a part of our life of faith and trust in God.
As losing the consciousness of God causes crime, loosing the consciousness of his love can cause great depression.
God is a stronghold for us in our time of need.
W.M. Czamanske says it in a poem:
Above us are the eyes that never slumber,
That work against whatever hurts or harms;
Around us are His mercies without number,
And underneath the everlasting arms.
Above us are the hands that once were riven,
That broke the spell of Satan’s coming charm;
A round us are the pledges He has given,
And underneath the everlasting arms.
Above us are the wings of His protection,
The blessed hope that stills our dread alarms;
Around us are the fruits of His affection,
And underneath the everlasting arms.
God’s patience and love are seen in His willingness to warn instead of rushing to punishment.
He never strikes without first threatening.
After warning, he is slow to sentence the criminal.
Once he has given the sentence, he is slow to carry it out.
Why? Because God is both great and good.
He is both holy and merciful.
His kindness is to lead one to repentance.
If God were less than the God of mercy he is, he would have sent terrible judgment on all the world long ago.
Instead, he waits and gives sinners every possible chance to realize the folly of their ways and repent.
But he will not wait forever.
God showed great mercy to Nineveh.
Their sins were great.
When Jonah came they did repent.
It is not known just how long they did better.
Then Nineveh turned back to their sinful ways.
God waited to see if they would repent once again.
But now, in Nahum’s day, God’s patience became fully exhausted.
Nahum had declared that doom was imminent.
The people of Nineveh could expect o reap what they had sown.
The three chapters of Nahum represent three separate words from God.
In chapter one, we see the destruction of Nineveh decreed.
In chapter two, we see the destruction of Nineveh described.
In chapter three, we see the destruction of Nineveh defended.
Let sinners who continue to reject Christ take warning.
We never know when it will be too late for repentance.
An ancient rabbi said to his people, “Repent the day before you die”.
They replied, “But we do not know the day of our death.”
The rabbi answered, “Then repent today!”
Has God been good to you in spite of the fact that you have not served Him as you should?
Maybe this message today is a wake up call for you.
God loves everyone, but this does not mean that everyone will be saved.
The Bible does say that God is not willing that anyone should perish but that all should come to repentance.
It also says that he spoke clearly concerning the necessity of repentance and faith in order to secure salvation.
God will withhold punishment as long as possible because he wants all people to come to him through Christ.
He desires that all repent and be redeemed.
Satan tells sinners that they have plenty of time.
Maybe and maybe not.
If you know someone who is hesitating to make a commitment to Christ encourage them to make it today.
They might have lots of time and they might not have much time.
The sooner one becomes a Christian the sooner one can enjoy the abundant life of being God’s person.
The only safe thing to do, considering life’s uncertainty, is to commit now.
Help them to see the light and life offered by our loving Father through His Son Jesus the Christ.
The author and perfector of life.
God waits in mercy, but he will not wait forever for a decision.
Pray that the Holy Spirit will call them to God now and they will enter into the Kingdom that lasts forever.
I wouldn’t want to live any other way, would you?