–Originally published on FWB21 April 22, 2011–
Yesterday morning the first two verses I read for the day were Judges 3:1-2.
Now these are the nations that the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.
For two days now the thought has not left me that God must be awfully patient to have to teach each new generation the same things over and over. As I read once again of the history of Israel’s downward spiral of following God, then forsaking Him, then turning back to Him, then rejecting Him once again, I grow weary at the thought of God’s having to teach each succeeding generation the same lessons He taught their fathers. Man, I get weary at just the thought of having to teach Ian (and any future children we have) the very same lessons we’ve already taught Keith!
Why is God so forbearing with us? Why has He patiently allowed me to continue in one area of sin while He chisels away at another? Why is He so long-suffering that He gives us a lifetime to learn the lessons He’s taught so many generations before us?
These are, in a sense, rhetorical questions. I know cognitively the answers of grace, and conformity to the image of Christ, and God’s unwillingness that any should perish, but there is something about God’s longanimity that has humbled me this week. He is giving me a new perspective on patience.
Instead of trying God’s patience, may we be pursuing Him fervently, seeking His face, and making easier His process of conforming us to the image of Christ. May we also be ever ready to extend His grace and patience to those around us who need time to learn the very same lessons.