Long-suffering Mercy

Exodus 15:19-17:7; Matthew 22:1-33

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” -2 Peter 3:8-9
How do we handle the sins of others against us? When we’ve been deceived, betrayed, lied about, or mistreated? How does God deal with sin? How has He dealt with my sin?
We are all unrighteous before the Lord yet He freely offers grace for those who recognize their need for Him. Jesus has prepared a place for such people. Some respond to the invitation of the Gospel with apathy, others openly rebel in opposition to God’s gift. The kingdom of Heaven is not for them. So the Lord chooses an array of people from every nation, tribe, and language to serve His Name, delighting in His feast. He is mercifully long-suffering.
Moses cried out to God when the Israelites complained of hunger and thirst. The Lord heard him and miraculously provided in the desert, meeting their physical needs. Water from a rock, meat in the evening and manna in the morning- for forty years! He is mercifully long-suffering.
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In His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus addressed the religious leaders intent on destroying His reputation and credibility. Jesus knew their hearts better than they did. He responds to the attacks to trap Him with patient wisdom, demonstrating His authoritative knowledge over the ways of men and Scripture. He is mercifully longsuffering.
Sometimes the word ‘long-suffering’ seem to fit better than ‘patient’. Long-suffering gives an image of endurance, perseverance, love bearing all things. This is exactly what Jesus did and does for you and me. In any of these examples God could have annihilated anyone questioning His provision, goodness or authority. But He didn’t. The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love not wishing any should eternally perish. Think of His response during the mock trials, insults, beatings, and ultimately, His crucifixion (Isaiah 53:7-11). He is mercifully long-suffering. Jesus has invested His life in all the elect, knowing we would not walk perfectly, knowing there would be days you and I completely fail.
But His mercies are new each day.
In light of how the Good Savior treats us, eventually sacrificing Himself for our eternal good, we can respond with mercy and patience when we are sinned against. Because I hope someone would extend the same grace to me when I sin against them. Cry out to God when you feel wronged, be sober-minded with self-control, quick to forgive, slow to anger. Because this is what Jesus did for you. This is what God loves.
Grace upon grace,
April

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