And the LORD, the God of their fathers, sent to them by his messengers, rising up early and sending, because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and scoffed at his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy (2 Chronicles 36:15-16).
The story of Israel is a story of constant rebellion against God. The people of Israel were willing to believe that God existed, but that did not stop them from serving other gods or to otherwise do what they thought they should do. We learn from the prophets that the rich oppressed the poor, the rulers freely engaged in political machinations contrary to God’s intentions, and the people did as they pleased.
God continually sent prophets to Israel, warning them of their upcoming doom if they did not change their ways. But there were always other “prophets” who said that everything was just fine, and God would save His people because He was God and they were His people. The rulers and the people preferred to listen to the easy message and not the more challenging one. And for a few hundred years, everything seemed to be just fine.
But then the time came when Israel exhausted God’s great patience and loving kindness toward them. In 722 BCE, the northern Israelites were conquered by Assyria and soon exiled. A similar fate befell Judah at the hands of the Babylonians in 586 BCE. There was nothing else that God could have done. There was no remedy.
This is a powerful message for us to consider. Peter informs us in 2 Peter 3:9 that God’s patience toward us is the only reason why this world continues to exist. There are plenty of people who continue to rebel against God. Many such people even believe that He exists, but they still go ahead and serve other “gods” and do as they please. There is still plenty of oppression and political machination going on. And for the past two thousand years, everything has seemed to be just fine.
We may stand up and proclaim God’s truth and the consequences for disobedience, but there are always others who indicate that everything is fine, and that God will somehow eventually save a lot of people or even everyone. Unfortunately, guess which message is better received?
Yes, God has been quite patient with us, and has shown us great kindness by allowing us to have life, let alone the fact that He gave His Son for our redemption (Romans 5:5-11). But a day will come when there will be no more remedy, the patience of God will be exhausted, the Lord will return, and everyone’s eternal fate will be sealed (2 Peter 3:9-12, Revelation 20-22).
Let us not be as Israel and exhaust God’s patience. Let us cease rebelling against our Creator, and serve Him according to His will, so that we may obtain redemption!
Ethan R. Longhenry