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Friday, July 16, 2010

Unparalleled Patience

 First, for any of you who were wondering, I currently plan on making a weekly post. If I don't do that, chase me down and challenge me! If I do more than that, praise God I've spent time reading and He has given me more than one thought worth sharing. I may move to a twice-a-week posting schedule if I feel like I regularly have things more than once a week.

Now on to this week's post.

In the spirit of the challenge being given to this generation I've decided that in my quiet times I'm going to read through the Bible. Partly because I want a better knowledge of the whole Bible (especially the OT) and partly because I want to spend time reading sections of the Bible I'm not as familiar with so that I'm not just glancing over it but really thinking about what I'm reading and why it's important. As of today I'm in Genesis 20 at a chapter a day (for those of you not so math inclined that means I've been at it about 3 weeks).

On Wednesday, I was reading through chapter 18. In this chapter God appears to Abraham and tells him of the upcoming destruction of Sodom. Abraham then pleads with God to spare the city if he finds righteous men there and after Abraham makes quite a few decreases to the number required, God agrees to spare the city if ten righteous men are found.

 As I was thinking, this part really struck me. God would spare judgement on the entire city if ten righteous were living there. What's profound about this is that God doesn't judge us as one within the confines of time would. That is, He doesn't judge us based on our current state alone. Since God exists outside time He has seen every possible outcome of every decision and knows that our rebellion is complete. What this means is that in the entire city of Sodom, there were not ten people who would have followed God even if they had lived out their lives in totality. God knew this when He was talking to Abraham, but He wasn't just leading Abraham on either. He was making a declaration about His character.

You see, God's patience in His judgement is seen in His willingness to save Sodom if ten people there would repent and follow Him. Whether or not you realize it, we've all been the recipients of God's patience in a way that directly parallels God's agreement with Abraham. What I mean is this: God has delayed His judgement of the world so that those who would believe can come to faith in Him. God will not lose a single sheep of His flock, and so He waits in a grace-filled patience for them to come to Him. It would have been completely within His power and right to judge the world at Christ's first coming, but He is patiently awaiting the day He has planned.

We serve a patient God. He endures a world of sin, deserving of judgement, so that His children can come to Him. We rely on His patience towards our sin all the time when pursuing growth, but what a great evidence of His love that his patience is at work in the world right now. Morning by morning new mercies I see, and I'm adding this one to that list.

- Jeremy Peggins, Building Bookcases writer

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