The combination of the weakness of man and the power of sin makes man stubborn toward God. The curse of God upon Adam and Eve due to their disobedience made everyone born in the flesh weak toward God and the power of sin captivates them to become stubborn toward God. They become useless and sin continues to thrive in them that they would never regain their former glory. Every man and woman born in the flesh can attribute themselves to the former glory not only because of Adam and Eve that were created pure, but much more to the fact that the spirit in them was formed by the almighty God who is forever holy. God who is holy cannot create anything unholy, but it is only when sin begins its work in men that their glory is conquered. Therefore, God continues to perform His wondrous work of creating men without sin, though He full well knows they would be made stubborn by the power of sin. He rejoices in His work, since He alone possesses the power to form the spirit of man in him. He is jealous for him as He alone possesses the power to give life and take it away. So, He patiently endures the stubbornness of man. Whatever He planned before the foundation of the world made Him patient toward man. Only a man made useless by the power of sin regards the patience of God as condescending.
God’s patience contains an invaluable solution to man’s stubbornness. In order to amplify His patience and in order that man realize the greatness of it, God implanted in it His word. In it He provided blessings to any who obeyed and curses to any who did not desire to obey. Hence, when God chose a people for Himself, He knew that His patience would bring forth the kind of sons He desired. When the power of sin worked in His people making them stubborn, He revealed His patience toward them saying, “The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel. Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him” (Zech. 12:1). He reminded them their maker, the One who chose to give them life. He informed them of the things He would do to redeem them from their stubbornness. He began this by reminding them of His power and works that they may first consider the greatness of their God. It is terrifying when God’s people are needed to be reminded of His greatness in this manner, because it is a sign that His patience will perform its work toward those who do not desire to obey. To constantly be aware of the greatness of God is the only way for people to generate belief for obedience. O, the mercy and purpose in God’s patience and how His people ought to grasp them!
It is purely the negligence of God’s people that they ignore His patience. In doing so, they become unaware of the essential blessings of heaven; they become ignorant of the curses that befall them. The present day churches are filled with many such people. Though they were created by God without blemish, their stubbornness to perceive God’s patience made them useless to God. “Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the waistband from the place where I had hidden it; and lo, the waistband was ruined, it was totally worthless” (Jer. 13:7). This is an interesting narrative from God to the prophet to make known the fate of the stubborn. And, how does He do it? By providing wisdom that reveals the work which He is about to perform upon them. The patience of God kept waiting for them, since it was God who created them by persevering with one man, Abraham. He made them His inheritance. It was He who redeemed them and blessed them. He made them stick to Him as a man would stick a waistband to his waist. Yet, they did not regard the patience of God that produced its work for them. Many in the churches today have not realized the substance of God’s patience. They are yet to understand the power and works lingering in it. They do not regard it as the choice weapon of God for performing justice and righteousness. It is His choice weapon as it brings about the result He desired to achieve long before the foundation of the world. By it He puts an end to the power of sin when He judges everyone living by the power of sin. Or, how does one suppose God will suppress the power of sin? “Arise, O LORD, do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged before You” (Ps. 9:19).
The time shall surely appear when the man of stubbornness no longer prevails. Let not this fact escape from you that when you perform works that do not distinguish between the power of God and the power of sin, you are stubborn toward God. When the churches engage themselves in teachings that are not of God, that falsely project His name and suppress His greatness, they have become stubborn toward God. God in His patience will judge them like those with the power of sin. Therefore, Christians must relentlessly pray that they do not become like the stubborn who surmise God’s power. Or else, as little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough, the churches will be filled with the power of sin. As long as there are men calling on the name of the Lord, those that are stubborn toward God will not prevail. And, if you have been calling on Him that His righteousness and justice should prevail, you have evoked the patience of God to perform its work. Such calling will perform wonders for His glory. Do not ponder as to how God performs wonders that His power might prevail and His patience produce perfect result. For the Scripture says, “So the king did not listen to the people; for it was a turn of events from the LORD, that He might establish His word, which the LORD spoke through Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat” (1 Kings 12:15).
This is a perfect illustration to God working mysteriously. He does not infringe on man’s ability to choose or make a decision. But, when one chooses to perform the work of sin, God puts in his heart to execute His purpose by giving him to sin. This results in the turn of events. Here is the wisdom of God to those who desire for God’s patience to perform its works. The more we seek God’s help, the more He works to our cause. His promise to us from the word will give us great confidence and it will be established. This will bring Him the glory He desired to achieve even before the foundation of the world. It is only in the hands of the almighty God to create inroads when there were none. Such work of God will demolish or suppress every power of sin. It is at this juncture that people praise the greatness of God, because “behold, a people rises like a lioness, and as a lion it lifts itself; It will not lie down until it devours the prey, and drinks the blood of the slain” (Num. 23:24).
How wonderful it is for the churches to emulate the greatness of congregation of Israel, but now in the spiritual realm! It is the work of the church to devour sin and the spiritual forces of wickedness that many people are saved from their multitude of sin. And, for this reason, the church has to be transformed into a people that rise like a lioness. Is it not God who makes way for the greatness of His people? Yet, if one exhilarates in the power of sin and in the wisdom that is not of God, his or her end will be like the one who kept teaching Balak to place stumbling blocks before the sons of Israel. It is true that whatever God planned before the foundation of the world made Him patient toward men. His plan was to create a people that are holy like Him and who by His power would destroy the power of sin. For this one reason alone God endures much through patience. However, do not consider the patience of God as vain. If you as a church or a Christian do not understand what God endured to make you His sons, you will exhilarate in the power of sin and in the wisdom that is not of God. You would not know how to receive from God. You will torment the patience of God like the sons of Israel. “Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly, and Moses was displeased” (Num. 11:10).
To torment the patience of God would mean to have put the Lord God to the test. This will greatly kindle His anger. You have not believed in the word that is implanted in His patience. They wept because they did not believe. Hence, they became impatient. They did not perceive the greatness of God. They proved their stubbornness toward Him. They tested the patience of God, and in doing so, became unaware of the essential blessings that come from Him. Though God made them stick to Him as a man would stick a waistband to his waist and brought them out of suffering, they disregarded His patience and the work it produced for them. They regarded the life in bondage as superior to the one that God presented them. They were punished and many were left in the dust of the wilderness. For this reason, one must distinguish between the works of the power of God and the power of sin. For the works that are by the power of sin will certainly turn the hearts of Christians to become stubborn like the sons of Israel. On the contrary, when we are found to obey God and walk in His patience, we receive from Him and perform works that are of His power. “For behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and lo, my sheaf rose up and also stood erect; and behold, your sheaves gathered around and bowed down to my sheaf” (Gen. 37:7).