Week 2, Day 1: Patience

          In II Kings, we read about the divided kingdom era.IsraelandJudahsplit after the reign of Solomon and each section has a king. The kings ofIsraelwere generally evil, while the kings ofJudahgenerally tried to lead the people to stick with God. Neither section ever seemed to be able to totally turn the people’s eyes exclusively back to pure worship of God, so it was a downhill slide for both until the end of the Old Testament when God finally said He’d had enough. After 400 years of silence between the testaments, God then ushered in the Church age through Jesus Christ and, in terms of Biblical history, that’s where we are today.

          What I noticed as I read that section of Scripture was God’s long-suffering. As evil as the kings were, He let them reign for years. Sometimes the kings would come up against an enemy who was oppressing them, and the king would cry out to God for help, with a promise to change his ways. God would help him – deliver him and the people from the oppressor – and then the king and the people would go right back to their evil by ignoring God and worshipping Baal. Then God would let that king die and another would reign, only to play out the same scenario.

         God’s patience is not a license to sin; yet, how many times do we – like the evil kings ofIsraelandJudah– take advantage of it? Ecclesiastes8:11tells us what our problem is: “When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong” (NIV). You see, when we think we have gotten away with something, we don’t stop, count ourselves lucky, and repent promising never to do that again. To the contrary, when we are not punished immediately, we are emboldened to go a little farther next time.

         Please note, Romans 6:23a has not changed, “For the wages of sin is death…” (NIV), and neither has Numbers 32:23b, “…be sure your sin will find you out” (KJV). Those evil kings got their come-uppins and we will too. God’s patience gives us a chance to repent and change. Do you really want God to deal with you in your sin? Let’s trust what God can do with an obedient heart.

**Prayer of Adoration: Dear God, You are patient beyond my understanding.

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©2012 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at www.sanewriter.wordpress.com. Also, periodically check in at www.LifeThatMatters.net to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, and from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website.

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~ by sanewriter on January 9, 2012.

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