Longsuffering of God
August 12, 2007 (AM) - Pastor Ronnie Wolfe
The Doctrine of God #15
Exodus 34:6 And the LORD passed by before him, and
proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering,
and abundant in goodness and truth,
In this text verse there are several sermons. One could
be on "The LORD;" one could be on "The LORD God;" one could be on "Godís
Mercy;" one could be on "Godís Grace;" one could be on "Godís Abundant
Goodness;" one could be on "Godís Abundant Truth;" and then there should
be one on "Godís Longsuffering." Some verses are like this: full of gems
that can be used for extensive studies in scripture. Today we will talk
about Godís Longsuffering.
Websterís Electronic Dictionary says that the
definition of longsuffering is "patiently enduring lasting
offense or hardship." This is a very short and very good definition of
this word. So, letís consider how God patiently endures the lasting
offense or hardship of human beings, who have offended him by our sin and
have become his enemies, who have loved the world instead of God and have
gone our own way and are going about establishing our own righteousness.
THE NATURE OF GODíS LONGSUFFERING
Letís notice what Bro. C. D. Cole says about
The longsuffering of God is a quality in the
Divine nature that makes Him slow in dealing with His enemies. God
does not fly into a rage at the least provocation. The Hebrew word,
which is sometimes translated "longsuffering," and sometimes "Blow
of anger," literally means "long of nose" (or "breathing"). Anger is
indicated by rapid and violent breathing through the nostrils, and
the opposite is longsuffering or slow of anger. A snorting, charging
bull is an emblem of passionate anger. But God is not like a bull or
prancing horse, eager to go, in the work of judgment. God is in no
hurry to punish His foes.
We realize, then, that Godís anger is not based
upon an arbitrary reaction to our actions but is based upon his own
purpose in treating men with a faithful recompense to his laws mixed
with mercy and grace.
Numbers 14:17-18 And now, I beseech thee, let
the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,
18 The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity
and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the
iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth
Godís nature does not permit him to cause anger
to replace mercy or mercy to replace anger; it all works together
according to Godís own wisdom
We see in these verses the two sides of Godís
nature as he deals with men. First, we find longsuffering, mercy,
forgiveness; but then we see that, even thou he has these
attributes, they do not overcloud his judgment. He will by no means
clear the guilty, our verse says.
GODíS LONGSUFFERING INCLUDES PATIENCE
The devil has been Godís enemy for a long time. The
devil as well as man defies God on every hand, yet God does not lose
his patience and lash out at the devil or evil men until the time of
We are to do the same: James 5:7 Be patient
therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the
husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long
patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Rom. 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not
yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written,
Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Job learned of Godís patience and waited on the
Lord to do what he would: James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy
which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the
end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
GODíS LONGSUFFERING MEANS SELF-CONTROL
When bad things happen, God does not come unraveled
or nervous or impatient. He is not quick-tempered.
A. W. Pink says, "Divine patience is that power of
control which God exercises over Himself, causing Him to bear with the
wicked and forebear so long in punishing them."
It makes no difference to God how long it takes to
accomplish his purpose: he is satisfied to wait as long as necessary.
He has it all planned, and the plan is working marvelously.
GODíS LONGSUFFERING INCLUDES FORGIVENESS
The verse we have already notices in Num. 14:17
says, forgiving iniquity and transgression.
This is amazing in that we need forgiveness of
Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right
hand [to be] a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to
Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
How can God forgive a man of his sins, sins
that have offended the righteousness of God?
It is because God is longsuffering. His
prevenient grace endured our sins and our selfishness until his
Holy Spirit came and changed our wills to desire his presence in
This is quite a character for a deity to have!
Isnít it wonderful that God has this character?
Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men
[and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the
forgiveness of sins:
This is the message of Christ, "The forgiveness
of sins." We preach this message when we preach the Gospel. This
is the "good news" that we give to everyone who will hear us when
we tell about Jesus.
Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, [and] to turn
[them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto
God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance
among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
Eph 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his
blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his
EXAMPLES OF GODíS LONGSUFFERING
In Noahís day: 1 Peter 3:20 Which sometime were
disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of
Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls
were saved by water.
In regard to Pharoah, Paul says in Rom. 9:22
[What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power
known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to
He is also longsuffering to "us-ward" on the
vessels of mercy: Rom. 9:23 And that he might make known the riches
of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto
GODíS LONGSUFFERING ALLOWS MEN TO SIN THE MORE
Eccl. 8:11-13 Because sentence against an evil work
is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is
fully set in them to do evil. 12 Though a sinner do evil an hundred
times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be
well with them that fear God, which fear before him: 13 But it shall
not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which
are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.
God has been longsuffering to you, sinner. Donít allow the day to come
when his judgment will be against you. Trust him today!