These are my notes from our 8/21/2011 church meeting.
Leader: Tim Harris
We want to praise GOD for His longsuffering and patience. What Bible passage or song is most meaningful to you regarding this aspect of GOD's character? Be prepared to share how GOD's longsuffering has affected you personally.
GOD is Longsuffering Toward Us
4 So [Moses] cut two tablets of stone like the first ones. Then Moses rose early in the morning and went up Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him; and he took in his hand the two tablets of stone.
5 Now the LORD descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD. 6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”
The Hebrew word translated "longsuffering" means "longsuffering patient, slow to anger."
GOD is slow to get angry. In other words, when we sin He is immediately displeased and disappointed, but He is not immediately angry with us. He gives us time to realize our mistake or rebellion and opportunity to repent.
18 ‘The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.’
15 But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.
From these verses we see that GOD's mercy is closely tied to His longsuffering. GOD is merciful toward us because He knows we are weak.
21 This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. 22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.
1 Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. 2 But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. 3 And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God
It is GOD's will that each person receive salvation.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
(2 Pet. 3:9)
GOD Expects Us to Be Longsuffering Toward Others
In every aspect of His character GOD wants us to be like Him. Longsuffering is no exception. In fact, to be longsuffering is part of the fruit of the Spirit:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Longsuffering is to be a part of the Christian's character.
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2 with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3 endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
9 For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
My Favorite Example of GOD's Longsuffering
I love to look at GOD's love for Israel and how, despite years of wickedness—purely evil living, GOD remained longsuffering towards His people, giving them numerous opportunities to repent.
15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent warnings to them by His messengers, rising up early and sending them, because He had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place. 16 But they mocked the messengers of God, despised His words, and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against His people, till there was no remedy.
(2 Chron. 36:15-16)
In Eze. 20, GOD reminds the elders of Judah through the prophet Ezekiel of GOD's history with Israel:
- GOD made an oath to them and made Himself known to them in Egypt (Eze. 20:5)
- They rebelled against Him (Eze. 20:8)
- GOD was angry and wanted to destroy them, yet He decided against it for His Name's sake, so that His Name wouldn't be profaned by the Gentiles (Eze. 20:9)
- GOD gave them His Sabbaths (Eze. 20:12), but they rebelled in the wilderness (Eze. 20:13)
- Again GOD decided not to wipe them out because of His Name's sake (Eze. 20:14)
- He brought Israel into the land and they provoked Him to anger with their sin (Eze. 20:28)
- So now His longsuffering was exhausted and He had to punish them (Eze. 20:33-44)
Lord's Supper Thoughts
In what ways did Jesus exhibit longsuffering?
Jesus lived among an evil generation
14 And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17 Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
Jesus' apostles were slow to understand
10 When [Jesus] had called the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear and understand: 11 Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” 12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
15 Then Peter answered and said to Him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16 So Jesus said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not yet understand that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and is eliminated? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. 20 These are the things which defile a man, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.”
In what way did GOD demonstrate longsuffering while Jesus went to the cross and died?
- GOD the Father restrained His love for His only sinless Son Jesus as well as His justice for Jesus' undue suffering so that His love, mercy and grace might be outpoured on all men.
- It pleased GOD to crush Jesus in order to make Him an offering for us (Isa. 53:10).
- GOD the Father not only spared the lives of those who abused His Son but He used His servants the apostles to preach the good news of salvation to those very people 50 days after Jesus died. What amazing love!