In looking up the word longsuffering what does it mean? Are there different meanings for long-suffering?
The word longsuffering in the Bible is made up of two Greek words meaning “long” and “temper”; literally, “long-tempered.” To be longsuffering is to have self-restraint when one is stirred to anger. A longsuffering person does not immediately retaliate or punish; rather, he has a “long fuse” and patiently forbears.
Correctly understanding these terms leads to a better understanding of the character of God and the Gospel. God restrains Himself to give man a little more time before He finally takes corrective or punitive action. God doesn’t want to punish people but He will if they don’t change course in their life and do the right thing.
For man…it is time to get right with God. God will is for mankind to turn to Him. If they live in sin, if Jesus is not their Lord and Savior, and if they choose not to confess and repent then God has no other choice than to judge them one day…and God’s judgment is perfect.
In a modern dictionary, it pretty much says that Long-suffering, is enduring injury, trouble, or provocation long and patiently. Bearing injuries or provocation for a long time; patient; not easily provoked. God though is not easily provoked. In fact, God is very patient and gives people time to deal with the issues (whatever they are), and come to Him. But if you choose not to come to Him then, and you don’t change…you will face Him. “But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.” (2 Chron 36:16)
Before reaching the point of “until” in that verse, what were they (God’s people, v15) doing? They “mocked the messengers,” “despised his words” and “misused his prophets. That certainly sounds like a provocation. And then what happened? “The wrath of the LORD arose.”
I don’t know about you but I would rather face the music now than see the wrath of God come upon me. Notice though in that statement that it doesn’t say “God punished them.” Rather, it says “there was no remedy.”
The next verse helps to explain what happened:
“Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.” (2 Chron 36:17)
Our God is just, merciful, loving, kind, but He is also THE judge! He judges perfectly, and there is no evil in God, bias, or racism. He is the only honest and fair judge. God put up with people’s provocations until at some point and then took action against them.
People God does not protect His people because of their bad choices and actions. There still are consequences for doing wrong/sinning.
“But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, who slew their young men with the sword in the house of their sanctuary, and had no compassion upon young man or maiden, old man, or him that stooped for age: he gave them all into his hand.” (2 Chron 36:16-17)
It is not God being patient to a point and then losing His temper. Rather, He patiently keeps doing all He can to get through to His people (sorrowing for their state the whole time) until there is nothing left to do. At some point God will determine exactly when and how He will deal with each person who does not come around to His will and ways.
It was when there was no remedy left, that God had no choice but to make an accommodation of some sort such as to let His people go the way they had chosen and reap the consequences. (This goes along with how you and I commit sin and don’t get right with God over the sins we choose and chose to do)God does not force us to do His will. It is totally amazing to me that God has such patience for us. He could have just zapped us, but instead, He gives us (some) time to get right. We don’t then, at some point, God will deal with us with perfect justice.
God waited for 120 years and would have been suffering (grieved) for some time before that. Then what did He finally do?
God does not want men to perish, so He is delaying the destruction of the world, hoping that we will turn to Him before it is too late for repentance. But, understand that this is not a promise of a permanent delay.
God is just, God is fair, God is honest, God is loving, kind, considerate, and wants us in heaven, but He has given us the way to get there. We can choose to follow Him and do things as He says, or we can choose not to. It blows my mind that so many walk away from the only one who can give them eternal life. As for me, I choose to follow Jesus and I really don’t even want 5 minutes of my life out of order with Him. I choose to go to God when I mess up and take the consequences for my actions so that I can get things fixed with Him, and know that one day in His timing I can be with Him forever.
Now, may the Lord bless you, keep you, draw you to Him, help you get your life right with Him, and give you His peace.
God bless you