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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 longsuffering:

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 generation.

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 judgment comes.

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 sins.

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 our souls.

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 grace;

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 destruction:

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 glory,

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!

 

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