God has all the time in the world. He is never rushed, fluttered or in a hurry. He is patience and long suffering. So much so some believe he will never act. In the Old Testament we find the Jews devastated when they were exiled to Babylon (Psalm 137). Despite centuries of warnings from the prophets the people thought that because God was slow in acting that he would not act at all. They did not realize God’s patience was intended to lead them to repentance Romans 2:4).

God’s patience is also seen in other places. Jezebel in the Old Testament was a particularly evil woman. She liked to kill God’s prophets (1 Kings 18:4). In the letter to the church at Thyatira contained in Revelation 2, we are told there was someone leading the church astray who is referred to as Jezebel. This probably wasn’t their real name but rather a description of their behaviour. John records Jesus’ words, ‘“I have given her [Jezebel] time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling”’ (Revelation 2:21). Even someone as evil as Jezebel is given time to repent. Nevertheless if she doesn’t repent consequences will follow.

From a human perspective we often struggle with the timing of how to respond to a ‘Jezebel’ type character. Sometimes we give them no time to repent or we give them too much time and never call them to account.

However the main point here is how amazingly patient and gracious God is in waiting for people to see the error of their ways and repent. We see it over and over again. God said he would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if he could find only ten righteous people (Genesis 18:32). God sent Jonah to Ninevah, a brutal and violent people, saying “. . . should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people” (Jonah 4:11). Do we really appreciate the length of God’s patience? Or do we take it for granted and expect God to wait indefinitely? God always gives us enough time to change our minds and repent but there comes a time when God says, “enough”. “My Spirit will not contend with humans forever” (Genesis 6:3).