A Limit to God's Patience
Title: A Limit to God's Patience
Reading for September 23: Nahum 1-3
Your shepherds are asleep,
O king of Assyria;
your nobles slumber.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
with none to gather them.
There is no easing your hurt;
your wound is grievous.
All who hear the news about you
clap their hands over you.
For upon whom has not come
your unceasing evil?
And this is the way the book of Nahum comes to an end. No promise of possible redemption. No call to repentance so that God's wrath might be averted. No message of hope.
This is in stark contrast to the way the book of Jonah ends. Jonah preaches repentance to the people of Nineveh (though his heart was not in it), and the people repent and are shown mercy by God. God shows to Jonah and everyone else that his mercy is deep and his long-suffering is powerful and that his grace is extended to all peoples.
But in Nahum we learn that there is a limit to God's patience with a people who stubbornly and rebelliously persist in their evil ways. God is merciful, but he is also just. His wrath and justice are perfect just as his grace and love are. He will not tolerate sin indefinitely. Judgment is sure to come to any people who refuse to listen to him.
On a personal level, there is an application to make here. God is patient with us, but there is a limit to how long God will wait for us to listen. Let's learn from the people of Nineveh not to try God's patience but to repent while the invitation to come back to God is still available.
Father of grace, may we never take your lovingkindness and tender mercy for granted. Give us a sense of urgency to remove whatever sin is between us and you.