2 Peter 3:14, 15 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.

To me, one of the powerful evidences of God's character distinctiveness is His patience. God is incredibly patient--determined, tenacious, and patient! Humans are not! Our commitment begins strong and decreases fast. Few humans "follow through." We much too quickly give up! We much too quickly justify failure and discouragement! We much too quickly blame something or someone else!

Not God! He is determined! What He promises becomes fact! No human discouragement diverts Him from His intent!

Consider! From the moment Adam and Eve surrendered to the deception of temptation, God was determined to reclaim His creation. The fact that Cain killed Abel did not result in God's surrendering His commitment! For God, it got worse! People became so evil they did not even think a decent thought (Genesis 6:5). Though God was grieved deeply, He did not quit! Even when God began again with Noah, even when Noah proved such a disappointment, God did not quit.

In fact, God's purposes were enormous. He promised nothing less than being a blessing to all families of the earth (Genesis 12:3). Incredibly, God produced a nation from the childless Abraham. When those delivered people were unimpressed with all God did for them (Exodus 32:10), God did not think of quitting--He thought of starting over!

For centuries, Israel disappointed God repeatedly. Finally, Israel offended God so deeply that He could tolerate their rebellion no longer. Yet, when He announced this through His prophet Hosea, His declaration of accountability turned His stomach. Listen:

Hosea 11:8, 9 How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled. I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, And I will not come in wrath.

Though Israel of old gave God no option, God did not want to give Israel His wrath.

Consider God's incredible patience. For a long period, much over 2000 years, God was determined to send the Christ. In spite of centuries of rebellion, He did! For almost 2000 years after Jesus Christ's death and resurrection, God patiently has waited for people to claim their promised blessings. Human wickedness has not destroyed God's forgiveness. Human imperfection has not destroyed God's sanctification. Human failure has not destroyed God's redemption. God will do everything for us He promised. God will bless us in every way He intended. If what? If we let Him. We, not God, are the problem. Do you use your life to bless God's patience or to try God's patience?

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 28 April 2005

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