(The following is the May 22 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Acts 12 and pay close attention to verses 20-23.)
God is incredibly patient. Peter wrote, “The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Israel’s unfaithfulness in their wilderness wanderings tried God’s patience. The Gospels document multiple times when the disciples fell short, yet Jesus persisted in teaching and loving them to the end. God has been patient with us through our imperfect faith journey. But God balances his patience with divine justice. There will come a time when unbelieving humans are held accountable for rejecting Jesus Christ.
Herod painfully discovered the limit of God’s patience with him. When Herod delivered a speech, “the assembled people began to shout, ‘It’s the voice of a god and not a man!’ At once an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give the glory to God, and he was eaten by worms and died” (vv. 22-23). People sometimes read the Bible and wonder how God could pour out wrath on humans, as with Herod. The better question is, why doesn’t God do it more often? Why does he exercise patience with disobedient people he created in his image when they fail to fulfill their purpose of bringing him glory?
The Creator is sovereign over his creation, and we can be confident that his decisions are always just because of his perfect, holy nature. His wisdom and holiness lead him to act as he does. We, his creation, are in no position to question his actions and motives.
We will glorify God by choice and enjoy him forever as recipients of his patience, or we will glorify him by suffering his justice.
Think about people who have tested your patience. Have your reactions been just or unjust when your patience ran out? In what ways have you tested God’s patience?