Steve Ellison: A Limit To God’s Patience

Friday, November 9, 2018 - by Steve Ellison

The Bible indicates that there is a limit to how much God will put up with from us.  We would do well to remember Biblical occurrences of hearts becoming hardened as well as the admonition in Scripture that the Spirit of God will strive only so long with man.   Because of the great patience and lovingkindness of the Lord, we often act as if God is bound to wait patiently for us to decide to trust and obey.  Praise Him and thank Him that He does wait an unbelievably long time for us but be aware that there is always a limit.  God is not obligated to us for anything.

We ought to remember that the marvelous gospel offer is the greatest offer the world has ever known but it has an expiration date. When I draw my last breath or when Christ returns, whichever comes first, is when the offer closes for me.  The incident of the faithless people responding to the ten faithless spies at Kadesh is very instructive in this area.  The children of Israel were afraid, wept, grumbled, and contemplated choosing a new leader who would lead them back to slavery in Egypt.  God’s chosen people seemed to have reached the end of His patience. 

 

Numbers 14:11-12 records God’s response, The Lord said to Moses, "How long will these people treat me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in me, in spite of all the miraculous signs I have performed among them?  I will strike them down with a plague and destroy them, but I will make you into a nation greater and stronger than they." (NIV)  Wow!  What could they have done to receive that pronouncement?  The Lord said they had treated Him with contempt and that they had refused to believe in Him.  The preceding verses record the Israelites asking some blunt, harsh questions of God.  Several times in the Scripture, people ask such questions of God and His response is not like this one.  It seems to me that the difference rests in the fact that they did not wait for an answer from the Lord.  They answered their own questions. They asked why the Lord brought them out there.  They answered their own question by declaring that they would be killed, and their wives and children would be taken as plunder.  Next, they asked if it would not be better to return to Egypt.  Again, they answered their own question by stating that they should choose their own leader and return to Egypt.  They began to talk of stoning the leaders God had given them.  It appeared that they might really kill Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and Caleb.  The appearance of the glory of the Lord in the tent of meeting is all that prevented those murders.

 

God can handle all your questions.  Ask away.  None are too difficult for Him.  Be sure to wait and listen for His answer.  Be careful not to answer your own questions. You do not want to have a conversation where the other person asks you questions and then answers them.  That would be treating you with contempt. The Lord listened to Moses and did not wipe them out, but He did make them wander in the wilderness until they died, which would take forty years. They deprived themselves of the privilege of entering into the Promised Land. Trust and obey for there’s no other way. Do it before you start treating the Lord with contempt and it becomes too late. That costs far more than you are interested in paying.


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