RPM, Volume 19, Number 37 September 10 to September 16, 2017

The Night Watches: The Patience of God

Psa 63:6; 130:6; 42:8

By John MacDuff

"The God of Patience." Romans 15:5

There is no more wondrous subject than this — "The Patience of God." Think of the lapse of ages during which that patience has lasted — 6000 years. Think of the multitudes who have been the subjects of it — millions on millions, in successive climates and centuries. Think of the sins which have, all that time, been trying and wearying that patience-their number — their heinousness — their aggravation. The world's history is a consecutive history of iniquity, a lengthened provocation of the Almighty's forbearance. The Church, like a feeble ark, tossed on a mighty ocean of unbelief; and yet the world, with its cumberers, still spared! The cry of its sinful millions at this moment enters "the ears of the God of Sabbath," and yet, "for all this," His hand of mercy is "stretched out still!"

And who is this God of patience? It is the Almighty Being who could strike these millions down in a moment; who could, by a breath, annihilate the world — no, who would require no positive or visible putting forth of His omnipotence to effect this, but simply to withdraw His sustaining arm!

Surely, of all the examples of the Almighty's power, there is none more wondrous or amazing than "God's power over Himself." He is "slow to anger." "Judgment is His strange work." He "shows mercy unto thousands [of generations]." God bears for 1500 years, from Moses to Jesus, with Israel's unbelief; and yet, as a writer remarks, "He speaks of it as but a day." "All day long have I stretched out my hands to a disobedient and gainsaying people." What is the explanation of all this tenderness? "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord!"

Believer, how great has been God's patience towards you! In your unconverted state, when a wanderer from His fold, with what unwearied love He went after you; notwithstanding all your waywardness; never ceasing the pursuit "until He found you!" Think of your fainting and weariness since being converted — your ever-changing frames and feelings — the ebbings and the flowings in the tide of your love; and yet, instead of surrendering you to your own perverse will, His language concerning you is, "How can I give you up?" For a lifetime, your Savior-God has been standing knocking at your door; and His attitude is still the same — "Behold, I stand!"

But fainter than the pole-star's ray
Before the noontide blaze of day,
In all of love that man can know —
All that in angels' breasts can glow
Compared, O Lord of hosts! with thine.
Unwearied! Fathomless! Divine!

How should the patience of Jesus lead me to be submissive under trial! When He has so long borne with me, shall not I "bear" with Him? When I think of His patience under a far heavier cross, can I murmur when He murmured not! No, I will check every repining thought, and looking up, in confiding affection, to "the God of all patience," "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

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