2 Peter 3: 8-9
Waiting is one of the most I would say irritating and unwanted experience in our life. When we get caught in a traffic jam and you are late, you get angry. In our daily life waiting is inevitable. We queue in the bank, in the super markets, in government offices, even in fast foods centres, medical clinics, and gasoline stations. For most of us, if not all, time is very precious, and we don’t want to waste it for waiting. We are in a hurry to do things and finish everything. However, God is not in a hurry and today we are going to talk about God’s delays.
Illustration: How Do We Value Time?
How do we value ONE YEAR? Ask a student who failed a grade.
How do we value ONE MONTH? Ask a Mother whose baby arrived prematurely.
How do we value ONE WEEK? Editors of weekly newspapers know.
How do we value ONE HOUR? Ask someone who lies terminally ill waiting for a loved one who is late.
How do we value ONE MINUTE? Ask someone who missed a plane, a train, a very important engagement that would never be rescheduled.
How do we value ONE SECOND? Ask and Olympic Medallist, someone who just missed having an accident, or someone saying good bye to a loved one they will never see again. (Anonymous)
I. “This one thing” ( 2 Pet. 3:8a)
A. We must realize that God in His essence does not work on human timetables.
B. God is eternal, immortal, and He will never die. We human beings are mortals.
C. God has no beginning and no end. Man has a very short time to live.
D. Our days are numbered and our time is running out. His are not.
E. Humans may live up to 70 years or more, maybe 80 or 90, few can reach 100 years but as the Bible says “, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Ps. 90:10).
II. God’s reckoning of time (2 Pet. 3:8b)
A. “That one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
B. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. (Ps. 90:4)
C. God’s reckoning of time is totally different on our reckoning of time.
D. His perspective is infinity while ours is not.
E. God sees past, present, and future at the same time, we cannot.
F. All time is as nothing before him, because in the presence as in the nature of God all is eternity; therefore nothing is long, nothing short, before him; no lapse of ages impairs his purposes, nor need he wait to find convenience to execute those purposes. And when the longest period of time has passed by, it is but as a moment or indivisible point in comparison of eternity. (Clarke).
III. Divine Delays
A. Since a thousand years are as one day to the Lord, we cannot accuse Him of delayed fulfilment of His promises. In God’s sight, the whole universe is only a few days old!
B. He could have created the entire universe in an instant, yet He preferred to do it over a period of six days.
C. He could have delivered Israel from Egypt in a moment, yet He preferred to invest eighty years in training Moses.
D. For that matter, He could have sent the Saviour much sooner, but He waited until “the fullness of the time was come” (Gal 4:4). While God works in time, He is not limited by time. (Bible Exposition Commentary).
E. Jesus hinted that His return may be after a long time (Mt. 25:19), and suggested that it will be wise to prepare for a delay.
IV. Necessity of the delay (2 Pet. 3:9)
A. The scoffers rejects the word of God and does not believe on His second coming.
B. Delay is necessary due to very good reasons the scoffers will never understand and accept.
1. God is not slack concerning His promise. The word slack here means “to tarry”, to hesitate, to linger, God is not late in keeping his timetable here on earth.
2. He is long suffering toward us. Long suffering is to be forbearing or patient, bear (suffer) long.
a. Long suffering does not quickly retaliate or quickly punish.
b. Long suffering is that quality of self-restraint in the face of provocation which does not hastily retaliate or promptly punish; it is the opposite of anger, and is associated with mercy, and is used of God (Rom. 2:4; 1 Pet. 3:20)” (Vine).
c. God endures blasphemies against His name, rebellion, murders, never ending breaking of all His commandments.
d. He patiently calls His own, waits for their response, and at the same time answers the prayers of His erring children.
e. Delays of His judgement is patience or long suffering.
According to a traditional Hebrew story, Abraham was sitting outside his tent one evening when he saw an old man, weary from age and journey, coming toward him. Abraham rushed out, greeted him, and then invited him into his tent. There he washed the old man’s feet and gave him food and drink.
The old man immediately began eating without saying any prayer or blessing. So Abraham asked him, “Don’t you worship God?”
The old traveller replied, “I worship fire only and reverence no other god.”
When he heard this, Abraham became incensed, grabbed the old man by the shoulders, and threw him out his tent into the cold night air.
When the old man had departed, God called to his friend Abraham and asked where the stranger was. Abraham replied, “I forced him out because he did not worship you.”
God answered, “I have suffered him these eighty years although he dishonours me. Could you not endure him one night?” (Anonymous)
3. Not willing that any should perish
a. We should see God’s delay in terms of salvation
b. The delay of God in judging sinners has made possible our salvation.
c. His delays gave more opportunity for lost sinners to be saved and for us to be used by God in their salvation by proclaiming the gospel.
d. God not only desires that any should perish but He also wants that all be saved.
e. Jesus Christ will not save us against our will, but He will hold us responsible for all our choices.
f. You can reject Christ if you want to, but you will suffer the consequences if you do so.
g. The word “willing” states a strong desire on God’s part.
h. Not all will come to Christ but it is the will of God’s heart.
i. It’s a sad thing that God is always willing to save, but man is not always willing to be saved.
4. But all should come to repentance
a. Repentance means a turning to God and a change of mind toward God that results in a change of life (Mt. 3:1-2; Lk. 5:32; 13:1-3; 18:13; Acts 2:38; 5:31; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; 2 Pet. 3:9).
b. There are two types of repentance:
(1). Repentance for unbelievers for salvation (Lk. 13:3; Acts 2:38)
(2). Repentance for unbelievers from daily sin (Rev. 2:5, 16, 21-22)
c. All men everywhere are commanded by God to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30).
d. Repentance was the first item in the preaching of John the Baptist (Matt. 3:1-2), Jesus (Matt. 4:17), and the apostles (Mark 6:12; cf. Acts 2:38).
e. Beyond repentance, faith is needed. But repentance is indispensable. Sin must be forsaken decisively.
Christ indeed delays His coming and His judgments to give all sinners a chance and opportunity to be saved. He is long suffering. He loves the sinners but not their sins. Would you repent now from your sins? Repent now. Receive Him as your personal Saviour. He is waiting for you with an open hand.