The Patience of God
The Patience of God
Speaker: Eddie Francis
For those of you who are new to our fellowship, it’s great to have you with us. Thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. It’s still really good to be back together, although it’s still a little bit challenging. And what we’re going to do is go ahead. This is just a reminder that the theme for the year is one. It is one. And so we’ve been going through all of the verses in Ephesians for the first six or so verses of the ones we covered.
And I’ll just remind you of that in Ephesians 4 verse 4 its says, there’s one body and one spirit. Just as you were called to one hope when you were called one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. we’ve been taking the time to kind of go through all the ones of the tenets of the basic tenets of the faith in our Sunday messages. And I think they’ve been really helpful. I hope you’ve been taking a lot of good notes. It has been really rich.
And what we’re doing now is we’re switching for the month of July to talk about one God and Father of us all. And you heard that in the songs, you know, God of wonders and you are holy and all of that. We really are trying to focus on our great and glorious and powerful God this month. And again, at the same time, when I was thinking about this message, I thought God’s qualities are inexhaustible. you know, you start thinking about it and Melik does an incredible job singing, you know, you know about an awesome God and all of this.
My God is awesome. You know. I’m tempted just to sing here. Nobody can be a Melik, you know what I’m saying? But but there are some of the adjectives used to describe God or perfect protector provider, mighty holy. I mean, just a lot of great words to describe the God that we serve. And even with that, you can come up with so many others. You know, you could talk about how God is generous and how he’s kind and how he’s sovereign and how he is holy and faithful and just and how he’s unstoppable.
I mean, you just go on and on. And what I’ve chosen to do today is to focus on one aspect of God’s care, and it’s just a choice. You can think, OK, I wish you pick something else or humor me and say amen if you like what I say about this stuff. But but we I’ve chosen today that we will talk about when you go back to school and adhere to God’s patience. We’re going to talk about God’s patience here today.
And my hope is real simple. I hope you leave here today with such an appreciation for God’s patience in your life. I hope you leave here feeling like, wow, I am thankful that God is so patient. A word for patience, here is his word, makrothumeo. OK, I saw the phonetic spelling online and that’s OK. I’m gonna say it the way its supposed to be said. But since you don’t know it you can’t tell me I said it wrong.
So I’m good, all right. But Makrothumeo a is a word and it being longsuffering. Patience, fortitude forbearance. Two words. Makro means long and distant and far. Thumeo means temper, passion to be furious, to burn with intense anger. And so when you combine all that Makrothumeo, really means long tempered. That God is long tempered. And that’s very important for all of us. In other words, makrothumeo means you even though long you don’t retaliate, you know, you don’t retaliate, you’re willing to wait.
And there under the unjust things that are going on you’re willing to wait even though wrongs have been inflicted on you. And yet at the same time, the word goes a little beyond just patience. And what I mean by that is that you stand in the face of the wrongdoing, you see the wrongdoing, you acknowledge that is real. It’s right there in front of you. And yet there is a refusal to give up hope., You refuse to give up hope.
You still hold out hope for the situation to change. And that is exactly the God that we serve. We’re gonna see that as we go through. That is the heart of God. God holds out hope for our reconciliation, for us to to do the right thing and to be pleasing to him. And I’m going to remind you by looking at several verses here of why this is so critical and so important. When God lead the children of Israel out of bondage. You remember he lead them out he did all these incredible miracles and wonders.
They saw all of that. And yet when those 10 spies went into the promised land, they came back with a faithless report that discouraged the people. And despite all of that Moses still praises God in his prayers in Numbers 14 and we’re going to look at that numbers 14 verse 18. He says the Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished he punishes the children for the sins of the parents and the third and fourth generation in accordance with your great love forgive the sin of these people, just as you have pardoned them from the time they left Egypt until now, Moses appeals to God’s long suffering. He appeals to God’s patience.
And he he says, please forgive them, even though they messed up time and time again, even though their faithless over and over again. Please forgive them. He appeals to God’s patience, to God’s long suffering. And then in Psalm eighty six, David says this, arrogant foes are attacking me oh God ruthless people are trying to kill me. And sometimes you feel that way on the job. you got the ruthless people over there trying to make your life miserable.
He said they have no regard for you. But you, Lord, are compassionate and gracious god. Slow to anger abounding in love and faithfulness. Like any of us David would have loved to have his enemies removed. Just taken out, get rid of them all. But even as he’s praying to God, and he’s longing for God to be gracious to him. He still said that, you know what? You are a gracious God. You are gracious, merciful, loving God.
And right after this, he appeals to God to be merciful to him. But that’s the God that we serve. In Psalm 103 great, great verses here about God’s patience and his long suffering. Psalm 103 verse 8 it says the Lord is compassionate and gracious slow to anger abounding in love he will not always accuse nor will he harbor his anger forever. He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
Thank God that he is long suffering, that he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. And you know what makes the long suffering of God so amazing to me today? I’m I’m just thinking about this and mulling over meditating on it and praying and asking God to bless what we talk about him today. But one of things that makes God’s longsuffering so amazing is that God is holy,. He is holy, he is the light in him, there is no darkness at all.
The Bible says he lives in unapproachable light. That’s the God that we serve. But the other reason why God, God’s patience is so amazing is the fact that God knows our sin and he sees everything. He knows everything that’s going on all at the same time. Look at these references, I think you’ll be encouraged. Proverbs 15:3 eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. You know, in Psalms 139 the Psalm says where can I go from your spirit?
If I go to the heights you’re there, if I go to the depths you’re there, I can’t get away from your spirit. And Hebrews 4:13. I love it it says nothing in all creation is hidden from your sight that everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him, to whom we must give account. God knows everything. He sees everything. In the message Bible, I love this verse it says you keep track of all our sin.
Every misdeed since we were children is there in your books. You know, I look over here, Ben Carson and Artiaga, I got it out. I mean I look at these kids and you think to yourself, OK, guys, you start a running case? I think so. I think they call it the terrible twos because they’re just sinful little creatures. You know what Im saying? And I think God starts recording all the little stuff that I did. But that’s what he said is this since we were children, everything was entered into your books.
That can be scary. Just knowing that. What I’m saying is that God sees everything, he sees all that’s going on in your life and in my mind.
He sees the sin he sees the injustice, he sees every act of evil that’s done he sees every impure thought, he sees every abuse, he sees all the injustice, he sees all the problems that are frustrating to you. He sees every abuse of a vulnerable person, whether it’s the child or a vulnerable adult. He knows about that. He knows about every lie that you and I tell. You know about every opportunity when you bear false witness in a situation, he knows every slanderous word that’s spoken. He knows your thoughts. He knows your motives. He knows your intentions, God knows it all. And he sees it all. And yet he has reserved the time when he will bring it all into judgment, he will bring it all into judgment. But for now, he’s patient. and praise God he is because he gives us a chance and an opportunity to change. He’s patient, he’s long suffering, and he holds out hope you and I will do the right thing
In Ecclesiastes 12 verse 14. I love this. You talk about their judgment, for God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. And really, guys, when we confess sin that’s really for us. God, already knows. he knows every single thing you’ve done and whether you were real about it or not he knows about. And so we confess sin that’s really for our benefit, not for him.
But I have to go with me on a scary thought for a minute. God knows everything. I couldn’t handle that. What if you knew every vile, evil thing that everybody else in this room had done? Every wicked thought, every impure thought, every horrible motive, you know, even even sitting there now thinking, man, I hope this guy hurries up and finishes, we are going to have lunch. What if God knows everything that you are thinking.
And I thought to myself, God, help me. I would not want you to know all of the wickedness that’s been in my heart over time. I couldn’t handle that. And yet the Bible says God knows all of it and he’s still patient. He is holding out hope for you and me to change. David understood God’s patience. And some of you may recall you remember the scene in 2 Samuel twenty four david goes to his commander I believe was Joab. Yeah, I believe it was Joab. And he said, look, I want you to go out and number the fighting men. And Joab the commander said, look, you don’t have to do this David. Yeah. You got a lot of fighting men. We know that. We know you’ve been an incredible warrior. I mean, you used to talk about how saul had his thousands and you your tens of thousands. So we know you’re awesome.
We know you have a great army. So you don’t have to do it. I’m sure he tried to dissuade David from doing it and yet David was the king and he says, no, I want you to do it. So, as a good commander he goes out, he numbers the fighting men. Then David is incredibly conscious stricken. It bothers him to his core after the fact. And I’m sure we all know what that feels like when you know that you’ve done something that you shouldn’t have done.
And the bible says he was conscious stricken that he had counted, he said I have sinned greatly. Greatly in what I done. Now, Lord, I beg, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing. And guys, that’s a picture of what brokenness is. You notice how there’s no blame shifting, there’s no minimizing. He said, I have sinned. I did something foolish. What I did was wrong. I wish I hadn’t done it.
So take away my guilt and then God says, I’m going to give you three options and you pick the one way that you want me to punish you. He said, you can have three years of famine, you can have three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you, or you can have three days of plague in your land. And I love what David said. Look what he said in the second samuel 24:14, he says, David said to Gad I am indeed distressed.
Let us fall into the hands of the Lord for his mercy is great. But do not let me fall into a human hands. David said, you know, if I got to be punished, I would rather have to face you God. I don’t want to be in the situation with men. He understood the at God we have a short fuse. God is long-tempered, but David understood that we men have a short fuse, that we would treat each other horribly. And yet I know you’re patient, you’re long suffering. And sometimes you know I don’t know about you, but I look at the world, I look at where we’re at and gosh are we divided, oh my goodness, we’re divided politically, we’re divided about masks. We’re divided about vaccine. We’re divided because of color, we’re divided by so many things. And sometimes I look and say God, you know, it’d be nice if you just dealt with it. You know, like in my family, if there’s too much division going on Eddie will bring the hammer down, you know? This is like, OK, we deal with this.
We are not going to let this continue. And sometimes you could almost feel that way about God. God why don’t you just deal with this? I feel helpless right now. And I think the real reason why God hasn’t done that is that God is long suffering, and he is a patient. And he is waiting for us to make changes. A great example of God’s own suffering is the scene with Noah. You know, when Noah was told to build the ark he was told to build the ark and the Bible says God waited patiently in the days of Noah, he waited patiently.
And even though God waited patiently. And you’re going to see in a minute though I have an active role in trying to help people. But even though God waited patiently, how many ended up being on that ark? Eight people. Eight people of that world that they, only eight people decided to take advantage of God’s patience and do the right thing. And in Genesis six, verse five, it says the Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the Earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was all the evil all the time.
The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, I will wipe the face wipe from the face of the earth, the human race that I’ve created, and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures, and move along the ground. For I regret that I made them, but Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord. God looks out and says you know what, I regret what I’ve done, every inclination of the thoughts of the hearts, only the evil all the time.
I believe that’s how God looks at our world today. I really do. I mean, people say, well, America is a Christian nation. I beg to differ. I think we hold to the word Jesus. But as far as truly being Christian, we’re not there. And that’s why I think Jesus, in Matthew 7 says not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he does the will my father, who is in heaven.
Everybody isn’t doing God’s will. So I reject the notion that we’re all Christians. Genesis six, verse 11, now, the Earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. You know, part of the challenge that these people had in the time of noah, and it’s a challenge we all have as God gives us free will and free will can either help us or hurt us. Because God is not gonna force his way into your life. And sometime we try though.
We we have a loved one that we really want to see right with God. And so we go the extra mile, we reach out to him, we talk to him, we share our faith and we read them scriptures and we text him verses to read we do all of this stuff. But at the end of the day its their decisions. and it’s tough for us to relinquish that and to trust them. Love means that people have a choice. another aspect of God’s character is his love. God doesn’t force his way into your life or my life.
And I believe that God was working in Noah’s time just as he is he is in our time. And in Genesis six verse 9, Noah was righteous man, blameless among the people of his time. He walked faithfully with God. People saw Noah’s life they saw that oK, we have an example right in front of us what this man, what our life should be like. And one reason why I want to point that out and you can read this later Second Peter two verse five.
It talks about how he no longer was a preacher of righteousness. I thought Eddie you have been reading your bible for years and I don’t know to what degree I really acknowledged that phrase. It says Noah was a preacher of righteousness. So God gives him the command to build this ark, this huge boat and while he’s building the ark when he’s taking breaks? What is he doing? He is preaching the words to the people around him.
He says guys the flood is coming. You can get right with God. The flood is coming. And I don’t know how many of y’all seen is it Evan Almighty? You remember that? OK, I heard some laughter. There was one scene there where he did. He yelled at people. People get off the boat wand all this stuff. And they’re laughting at him and scoffing like, you know him. You’re crazy, Ahab. What’s wrong with you?
All this kind of craziness. But the thing I want you to think about in Genesis seven verse six is said, Noah was 600 years old when the flood started. So question how much did he preach to these people? Now, the Bible doesn’t say how long he did all this and that he was 600 years old when the waters started to happen, when the flood occurred. But God just patiently waited for as long as for as long as he preached God patiently waited.
Some scholars believe that it could have taken him anywhere from 40 to 100 years to build this boat. That was the estimate that they gave. And so the question I want to put before you is, OK, why is God so patient? why is he so long suffering? And I believe the first thing is that God simply doesn’t want people to perish. he wants us guys to be in a relationship with him. God loves you. God likes you. God wants to have a relationship with you.
He was all men to be saved he wants all women to be saved and that is God’s heart. In first timothy two verse one it says, I urge them, first of all, that petition, prayers and intersession and thanksgiving be made for all people, for kings and all of those in authority that we made live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our savior who wants all people to be safe and to come to a knowledge of the truth?
God wants everybody saved, and he wants a relationship with all of us. That is his heart. So here’s the key for all of us. You don’t want to take it for granted. God’s patience does have a limit it won’t last forever. We don’t need to take that for granted. In second Peter three verse three verses that talk about that it says, above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come scoffing and fall on their own evil desires. They will say, where is this coming he promised? Ever since our ancestors died everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation. But they deliberately forget that long ago, by God’s word, the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water, by these waters also, the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word, the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not forget this one thing. Dear friends with the Lord today is like a thousand years, and the thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slowing keeping his promise as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. God, just basically said, I’m holding back judgment. I’m holding back because of my hope that you’re going to listen and turn. Because you’re going to do the right thing. Well some say, well, I listened Eddie. I became a disciple. I gave my heart to God. Well, how are you doing in your Christian walk? Are there things going on in your life right now that you know you have not given over to God? God is still waiting patiently for you to make that decision as well. In the American Standard version Second Peter three verse 9 says this the Lord is not slack concerning his promises as some count slackness, but is long suffering to you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all of us should come to repentance.
That is the heart of God. And I hope that encourages you. God loves you. He likes you he wants a relationship with you. He is patient with you. Disciple as you need to make a decision. He is patient with you do not know Christ. He wants you to have a relationship with him. God doesn’t want anyone to be lost. You don’t want your relatives to be lost he doesn’t want your neighbors to be lost he don’t want your classmates to be lost.
He doesn’t want that professor that you don’t like to be lost. He wants everybody to be saved. He wants this Uncle that you hate being around he wants everyone to be saved and have a relationship with him. The real key is, are you in touch with just how amazing God’s patience is? He really wants to have a relationship with all of us. You know, sometimes, you know, and I’ve got a situation like this right now. Sometimes, as I said earlier, we kind of want a person say more than they do.
We’ll go out of our way. But we do all that we can. And there’s a man, Eric and I have been reaching out to him for a while. And, you know, and it’s really interesting. He has an uncle and an aunt who reaching out to him. And that’s been for years. He’s been through a lot of stuff. He’s had a really rough time of it in life and we can still reach out to him. But one day I was talking to his aunt and I said look here’s a problem. You want this for him or that he wants it and you just got to give him room to get this part where it needs to be. And that’s what we’re going to do. But understand that God wants everybody right with him. He wants a relationship. But the other reason why I believe God is so long suffering is because he wants us to give him the glory that he wants our lives to glorify him, and you all know Galatians 5:22, fruits of the spirit love, joy peace, patience
We know the verse first corinthians 13:4. Love is patient. Love is kind. God wants us to reflect his heart in this world. He wants us to show the world what that’s like. And I really believe that that’s the reason why we live in the neighborhoods we’re in because God wants us to reach out and help people, I believe he put us where we are on the job, whatever it is. And here’s the thing about love, you know, is really kind of interesting.
You know, it’s love is patient and God is merciful and all of that long suffering. And I thought about the fact that I’ve been married to this young lady on the first row for 38 years. For 38 years, you might guess that over the course of that time we had a few bumps. And you think surely not not you guys. We got a call from somebody saying, hey, you got to do a marriage class for us and all this kind of stuff.
And you can marry classes so you don’t have any problems. Yeah, we always have problems. Everybody does. But here’s the thing. In 38 years, we’ve had our share of bumps and we had to learn patience. We decided a long time ago divorce would never be an option for us. we simply would not talk about that in our household. And it’s been a great, great journey for us. And I thank for this lady, she’s made a difference in my life.
But I but I think of others sadly, you know, for them marriage is not going so well and they do see a back door through divorce. I don’t think that’s the heart of God. I think he wants to work it out. But the same is true of how God feels about maybe your family, your friends. God is patient and He is holding out hope for them to change.