Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | August 25, 2015

“regard the patience of our Lord as salvation”

Today’s devotion comes from 2 Kings Chapter 21.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2+Kings+21&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“1 Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem;  and his mother’s name was Hephzibah.  2 He did evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the abominations of the nations whom the Lord dispossessed before the sons of Israel.  3 For he rebuilt the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed;  and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them.  4 He built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem I will put My name.”  5 For he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.  6 He made his son pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and used divination, and dealt with mediums and spiritists.  He did much evil in the sight of the Lord provoking Him to anger.  7 Then he set the carved image of Asherah that he had made, in the house of which the Lord said to David and to his son Solomon, “In this house and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen from all the tribes of Israel, I will put My name forever.  8 And I will not make the feet of Israel wander anymore from the land which I gave their fathers, if only they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that My servant Moses commanded them.”  9 But they did not listen, and Manasseh seduced them to do evil more than the nations whom the Lord destroyed before the sons of Israel.

10 Now the Lord spoke through His servants the prophets, saying, 11 “Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, having done wickedly more than all the Amorites did who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols;  12 therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Behold, I am bringing such calamity on Jerusalem and Judah, that whoever hears of it, both his ears will tingle.”  2 Kings 21:1-12.

———————–

“Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, having done wickedly more than all the Amorites did who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols”.  Verse 11.  We can certainly understand why the LORD pronounced his intention to punish Jerusalem and Judah.  We only wonder why the LORD allowed Manasseh reign so long (55 years) and why the punishment did not come sooner to Jerusalem and Judah.

Why was the LORD so patient?

For Manasseh, we later read more about his life in 2 Chronicles 33:11-19.  In brief summary, the LORD caused Manasseh to be carried away in captivity in Babylon.  “When he (Manasseh) was in distress, he entreated the Lord his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers.  When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.”  2 Chronicles 33:12-13.  And, Manasseh removed idols in Judah, ordered Judah to serve the LORD God of Israel, and took other actions consistent with repentance. 

When we see all the evil throughout history, we also wonder why is the LORD so patient.  This is the theme of today’s devotion.

The Psalmist was also bothered by prosperity and longevity of the wicked.

“17 Until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
18 Surely You set them in slippery places;
You cast them down to destruction.
19 How they are destroyed in a moment!
They are utterly swept away by sudden terrors!
20 Like a dream when one awakes,
O Lord, when aroused, You will despise their form.

21 When my heart was embittered
And I was pierced within,
22 Then I was senseless and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You.
23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
24 With Your counsel You will guide me,
And afterward receive me to glory.”  Psalm 73:17-24.

Likewise, we consider the Parable of the Tares among the Wheat.

“Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away.  But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also.  The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field?  How then does it have tares?’  And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’  The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’  But he *said, ‘No;  for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up;  but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”  Matthew 13:24-30.

Finally, we come to 2 Peter Chapter 3.

“7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day.  9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 

10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!  13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.

14 Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, spotless and blameless, 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation;  just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,  … 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen.”  2 Peter 3:7-15 and 18.

In summary, the LORD is patient in order to bring to salvation all of His elect.  And, there are many who think that they are already saved, but the LORD may not yet have converted them.  So, more time is needed.  Although there is much wickedness that His elect endures, the LORD preserves them.  As stated in the foregoing Psalm 73:23-24, the LORD is the One Who holds the hand of His elect.  If left to themselves, the elect would certainly let go of the hand of the LORD, but the LORD will not let go of their hand and will counsel them and guide them and bring all of His elect to glory.  


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