Forbearance for Going Astray

The God who loves us so much that he gave his son for us will also let us go our own ways away from him into the wilderness.  He won’t force us to come back.  In fact, he might help us pack.  Sometimes we need to see the bottom before we can fully turn away from sin…

10 “When I found Israel,
it was like finding grapes in the desert;
when I saw your ancestors,
it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.
But when they came to Baal Peor,
they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol
and became as vile as the thing they loved.
Hosea 9:10

28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
Romans 1:28-32, 2:1

When God delights in us, we are like the apple of his eye, which is how he saw Israel when he fashioned them into his people.  That was, until they consecrated themselves to an idol.  When we reject God for the idols of this world, we appear as vile as those idols are in his sight.

God longs to gather us up again under his wings, yet often we are unwilling (Matthew 23:37).

God may give us over to such unwillingness, because some of us need to experience the bottom before we can get back to the relationship with God for which we were made.  Our depraved minds will take us to many places which will stain our lives, yet the forbearance of God stands firm.

In Romans 2:4 we see that many of the people who had been given over also showed, “contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.”

God desires for us to turn back toward him.  Isn’t it interesting that even though sometimes he lets us go down paths which will harm us, he also puts up with it because he desires for us to turn around and come back?  Yet God doesn’t force his people.  He loves his people and desires their obedience.

Good thing you and I don’t insult God in this way, right?  Not so fast.  Notice that Romans 2:1 reveals that even those who judge others for going astray, themselves have gone astray.  We are all guilty of this.

Oh God, where in my life can I turn back toward you?  Reveal my wandering…


Marc Kinna


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