For some reason — from the very beginning, in fact; check Genesis 3 — we have always decided that we know better than God.
We decided that God’s limits on us were oppressive. We rebel against our Creator and we sin. We blame Satan. We blame each other. We rationalize our actions and justify our sins. We argue with God about it. And in our sin, he clothes us. He covers us. He protects us and provides for us.
We kill our brother. And God puts a mark on us so we won’t be destroyed.
Every other chapter in Judges paints a dark picture of the rebellion of God’s people. They only do what’s right in their own eyes. They’re worshiping Ba’al; this is no little thing; this is full-blown apostacy. They forsake the Lord. They turn their backs on him. And God delivers them again and again and again. Even the deliverers are lousy. Barak refuses to obey God so Deborah gets the credit. Jepthah was a fugitive outlaw who sacrificed his daughter. I can’t find one redeeming thing about Samson. Even Gideon made a golden idol out of the people’s earrings. And God keeps rescuing his people. Again and again.
We see it all through the kings and the prophets: idolatry and rebellion and sin, pride and arrogance and defiance, doubt and disbelief. And, again, it’s been this way from the start.
After God makes a covenant with Noah, Noah gets drunk and naked. After the covenant with Abraham, Abraham panics and takes Hagar so he can have a son. God makes vows to Israel and they respond by building a golden calf before the words on the tablets can even set. After the covenant with David, the great king attempts to break all Ten Commandments in one weekend — and nearly does!
After 1,500 years of these adulteries, surely the Lord our God is going to sue for divorce. Certainly he’s going to destroy these ungrateful, unfaithful, stubborn people and start over. Or just quit.
No. The Lord our God sends Jesus. In an act of astonishing grace and incredible patience he sends his Son.
He. Sends. Jesus.
“He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” ~2 Peter 3:9
Our God is eternal. He always was and always will be. God is more than willing to let entire centuries go by, to let whole milennia pass, as he carefully works out his eternal purposes.
God is still patient. God is still waiting. He is patiently waiting for people to repent. He doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants everybody to be saved. In Romans 2, Paul says it’s this patience of God, the richness of his kindness and tolerance and patience that leads to repentance. God’s patience is a big part of what saves us! In 1 Timothy 2, we’re told that God wants everybody to be saved. That’s why he waits. Praise God for his patience!
“Our Lord’s patience means salvation.” ~2 Peter 3:15