Does God grow impatient?
I asked a friend today, "Do you think God grows impatient?" The answer was, "No, I don't think so." And of course, we know that God is patient. The New Testament says that God is love and love is very patient and kind...among many other qualities. Does God grow weary? Verses tell us He does not grow weary or tired - not like we do. And yet Isaiah 1 quotes Him as saying He is weary of the evil among His people, and the way they come to sacrifice and celebrate before Him with blood on their hands.
Impatient? Weary? Not characteristics we often associate with our God.
We know God grows weary of sin - He grew weary of it in Noah's day when He sent the flood. And He grew impatient with Moses in Deuteronomy 3:24-27 where Moses says...
“And I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying, ‘O Lord God, you have only begun to show your servant your greatness and your mighty hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? Please let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, that good hill country and Lebanon.’ But the Lord was angry with me because of you and would not listen to me. And the Lord said to me, ‘Enough from you; do not speak to me of this matter again. Go up to the top of Pisgah and lift up your eyes westward and northward and southward and eastward, and look at it with your eyes, for you shall not go over this Jordan."
God had already told Moses he would not enter the land. We don't know how many times Moses had asked after that for Him to change His mind, but apparently God had heard enough. We might consider that impatient, but it is a holy impatience, from One who has the right to say "no."
God also has the right to declare what is good and right, and to expect us (His creation) to live by His standards. When we don't, we tax His patience. And He declares that His Spirit will not always strive with men. He does grow weary of our continual refusal to do what is just and right and to walk humbly with our God.
And yet, His patience is also infinite. "The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."
God has given us ample reason to trust Him, to have confidence in what we do not see. Moses was commended for such faith, even though in his humanness, he sometimes tried God's patience.
How grateful I am for that patience! And how grateful that God is still waiting to forgive us when we test it.