How patient and long suffering is our God! How amazingly loving he is.
Psalm 106 is a litany of how God’s people spit in his face again and again, yet when things sour they come back to God, and he forgives and blesses them again and again. It’s a broken record of their failures and God’s patience.
As soon as Israel comes out of Egypt, they start their slur campaign accusing God of wanting to kill them and they “rebelled by the sea,” yet “he saved them for his name’s sake,” (7) and God carves a path for them through the waters yet sweeps the Egyptians away.
Israel suffers a huge case of God amnesia- “they soon forgot his works” (13). How do you forget God splitting the Red Sea? They continue their belly aching, are jealous of Moses, and party at the golden calf. ”They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt” (21). If I were God I’d have said, “That’s it. I’m done with you, have a good life – without me!” Yet God spared them when Moses prayed for them.
They go on to despise the promised land (ever have someone be ungrateful for a gift you’ve given them?), don’t believe God’s promise (ever had someone call you a liar?), worship Baal and eat sacrifices offered to the dead. God sends a plague but as soon as Phineas intervenes in prayer he relents yet again.
Do they learn anything? When they finally enter the promised land instead of destroying the peoples as God had commanded they mix with them, serve their gods and even sacrifice their sons and daughters to demons. As a grandfather and dad, I can’t imagine hurting one of my kids or grandkids, yet Israel murdered theirs for demons.
V 43 sums it up: “Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity.”
Then comes the most amazing verses: “Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry. For their sake he remember his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love” (44-45).
What? After all their bad mouthing him, dancing with demons, ingratitude and self-absorption, God relents? God, are you a masochist? Do you like rejection? How much love do you have? An abundance.
How patient God is with me! How great is his long suffering toward me! Now if he was so forbearing with Israel, even forgiving them when they sacrificed their sons and daughters to demons, how much more will he be patient with us who have received his Son and been washed by his sacrifice.
And if God is so patient with us, should we not be patient with the failures of others?. Let’s remember God’s steadfast love when others sin against us or when they’re slow to change.