A Patient Father
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
A mom or dad can put a toddler’s shoes and socks on, and tie the shoes in a fraction of the time it takes the little one to do the same thing. And a neighborhood walk takes several times longer when a child is allowed to stop and explore bugs, rocks, leaves, and flowers along the way. Loving parents understand what’s happening in those moments. Their little one is learning and exploring at his own speed. Patience is the speed of the parent until the learning is done. Patience is an expression of a parent’s goodness and love.
That’s an imperfect way to think about God’s patience with us. He is a perfect Heavenly Father; we are imperfect (still learning) earthly children. God is patient with humanity, believers and unbelievers alike. He knows our weaknesses and is patient with us (Hebrews 4:15). He knows unbelievers’ hearts and is longsuffering toward them, “not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9).
When you feel impatient with yourself or with others, remember
Where there is no patience, there is not even a spark of faith. John Calvin
The Death Crawl scene from Facing the Giants
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” (Hosea 4:6)
This lament over the ancient apostasy of Israel embodies an agelong principle that surely applies to those nations today that once professed Christianity but are now dominated by humanism. Our own nation is experiencing an awful scourge of moral anarchy among our children and young people, and the reason why is because their parents and grandparents have largely “forgotten the law of thy God.”
America—particularly its intellectual leadership—has “rejected knowledge,” so its people are being “destroyed for lack of knowledge.” This ignorance exists despite an abundance of supposed actual knowledge (i.e., “science”) in our educational institutions, for such facts are almost universally taught in a secular context. Our teachers have forgotten that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7).
Even in evangelical and fundamentalist churches and schools today, there is often too little emphasis on knowledge and too much on experience. Christian faith is not “feeling”; it is volitional commitment to a true intellectual understanding of the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish,” said Christ (Luke 13:5). The Greek word for “repent” means “change your mind!” One can only believe right if he first thinks right, and this requires true knowledge.
Listen again to Hosea’s warning: “The LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy [i.e., kindness], nor knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). “They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7). HMM
Listening to God is not a one-time event. We must continually keep His Word before us, or we’ll begin to listen to the wrong voices.
In Genesis 2:16-17, the Lord gave a command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But Eve began to listen to another voice and did not hold firmly to her Creator’s words. All that Satan had to do was plant a seed of doubt about God’s integrity and offer Eve one appealing advantage of doing things her own way—and she fell for it. He mentioned wisdom, but using her own reasoning, Eve added two more benefits to the temptation: the fruit is good for food and a delight to the eyes.
The schemes of the enemy have not changed. He still whispers lies and twists truth to convince us that God can’t be trusted and His ways are not the best. In every temptation, there is a deception about the character and motive of God, plus an attractive promise of a better way.
The world is filled with voices that vie for our attention and influence our thoughts and actions. Throughout the day, consider the messages that are sent your way through the media and people. Consciously begin to compare them to what Scripture says about God and His ways.
Remembering what the Lord says in His Word is our safeguard against deception and temptation. Devotions read during our quiet time won’t protect us if they’re quickly forgotten during the day. Follow Jesus Christ’s example: Be ready with truth in your mind and on your tongue whenever temptation strikes. (See Matt. 4:1-11.)
Grecians or Christian Jews who had lived in foreign parts
Hebrews or Palestine Jews
Perhaps, being strangers, they were not well known, and so were overlooked; we have no reason to believe that the neglect was intentional. Mistakes will occur, and if not rectified they may create ill-will and division.
Others can do such work; ministers have enough to do to mind their own business.
Acts 6:3, 4
Prayer and preaching make up the entire life of a minister; by prayer he receives the word from God, and by preaching he communicates it to his people. Other church officers should take care that the minister’s mind is not burdened with temporal anxieties.
His holy and glad heart beamed forth in his countenance, a flash of coming glory lit up his face, and even his foes were forced to see it; yet neither this sight nor his eloquent address could touch their cruel hearts, for they thirsted for his blood, and would have it.
Acts 7:55, 56
Jesus was seen standing to receive the martyrs soul. What a vision! It removed the bitterness of death.
Asleep amid the falling stones! He slept not till he had left the church the legacy of his prayers. Augustine says, “If Stephen had not thus prayed, the church had not received that young man named Saul.” We have no other description of martyrdom in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit foreseeing that the church would have an abundance of such records in after times.
God… hath spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things. (Hebrews 1:1-2)
In this life, we are experiencing only unfinished segments of God’s great eternal plan. Certainly we are not able to comprehend fully the glory that will be ours in that future day when leaning on the arm of our heavenly Bridegroom we are led into the presence of the Father in heaven with exceeding joy!
The writer to the Hebrews has tried to help us in the proper exercise of our faith, with the amazing statement that our Lord Jesus Christ is the heir of all things in God’s far-flung creation. All things created have been ordered and laid out so they become the garment of deity and the universal living expression of Himself to this world!
What does “heir of all things” really mean? It includes angels, seraphim, cherubim, ransomed men and women of all ages, matter, mind, law, spirit, value, meaning. It includes life and events on varied levels of being—and God’s great interest embraces them all!
Surely God has left nothing to chance in His creative scheme—whether it be the tiniest blade of grass or the mightiest galaxy in the distant heavens above!
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 1 Cor. 1:19
This verse is a threatening so far as the worldly-wise are concerned, but to the simple believer it is a promise. The professedly learned are for ever trying to bring to nothing the faith of the humble believer, but they fail in their attempts. Their arguments break down, their theories fall under their own weight, their deep-laid plots discover themselves before their purpose is accomplished. The old gospel is not extinct yet, nor will it be while the Lord liveth. If it could have been exterminated it would have perished from off the earth long ago.
We cannot destroy the wisdom of the wise, nor need we attempt it, for the work is in far better hands. The Lord Himself says, “I will,” and He never resolves in vain. Twice does He in this verse declare His purpose, and we may rest assured that He will not turn aside from it.
What clean work the Lord makes of philosophy and “modern thought” when He puts His hand to it! He brings the fine appearance down to nothing; He utterly destroys the wood, hay, and stubble. It is written that so it shall be, and so shall it be. Lord, make short work of it. Amen, and Amen.