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Thank the Lord for His Patience

posted Sep 18, 2010, 4:51 PM by Web Admin   [ updated Sep 18, 2010, 4:56 PM ]
Do you know much about the kings of Israel? Even if you don’t know much, you probably know that some were faithful to God and some were unfaithful. As the Scripture describes it, they either did what was right in the eye of the Lord or they did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.

My family reads from the daily lectionary found in Lutheran Service Book. That is our hymnal. It has readings for every day of the year and it leads us through the entirety of Scripture reading almost all of it in a year. Today our one reading was from 2 Chronicles, chapter 34. It spoke of the beginning of Josiah’s reign as king of Judah. Judah is the southern part of the kingdom when Israel split into two after Solomon’s reign.

Josiah was the son of Amon, who was so evil in the sight of the Lord, that even his servants couldn’t stand it, so they conspired against him and killed him. Josiah’s grandfather was named Manasseh, and he too did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So, when Josiah became king at the ripe young age of eight years old, we would have to say that the deck was stacked against him. If he grew up at that point in a household that for two generations had served idols and rejected the Lord, what hope was there for Josiah and all of Judah?

Yet in the eight year of his reign, he began to seek the God of David and in the twelfth year, he began to purge the land of idols and false worship. Do you know that so little was known of God, that they didn’t even know that there was a Bible?

It was in the eighteenth year of Josiah’s reign that as they were ridding the land of idols and cleaning out the temple of the Lord, that the high priest discovered the Book of the Law. He “discovered” the books of Moses. The Bible had been lost and during these reforms, it was found. This Book of the Law of the Lord was brought to the king and read to him. When Josiah heard the words, he tore his clothes, he humbled himself, and he wept before the Lord.

In response to his reformation, his repentance, his confession of sin, God not only forgave Josiah and put away His anger, he spared all of Judah from destruction during his lifetime.

Has it been a while since God’s Word has made you weep? Recognizing the evil that we do, we can and should feel even as Josiah, because God’s Word requires so much more than we have to give. I have never rent more clothes and I don’t suppose that you have either, but God’s Word has rent your heart such that you have been laid waste with no defense for your behavior.

This brings us to our text from 1 Timothy this evening. That one that deserved the wrath of God as much as Manasseh and Amon that did evil in the sight of the Lord, that is who you used to be. But now, you are a new creation in Christ Jesus. You have humbled yourself, confessed your sin, and so have torn your clothes and wept in the hearing of God’s Law. But so also have you heard God’s forgiveness in Christ, in whom He now judges you faithful, just like Josiah.

In ignorance, you have done evil in the sight of the Lord, but now you receive mercy “the grace of God overflows for you in faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (1 Tim 1:14).

God has demonstrated His patience once again as He endured through the reigns of Josiah’s father and grandfather so that grace may be known once again in Judah during the reign of one that does good in the eyes of the Lord. You now live in the reign of One that does good in the eyes of the Lord. You live under the eternal reign of Jesus Christ.

It is into His kingdom that you were baptized. It is into His kingdom of grace that you now reside as one redeemed and forgiven. It is for you that Christ has come into the world that He might save you. In you the patience of God is continually made known as He forgives your sins and works in you perseverance in faith.

What a miracle that God could raise up a king that seeks Him amid so much evil in the world. What a miracle that God could take an enemy as staunch as Paul and make of Him an Apostle. What a miracle of God that He can take you, a sinner from conception and make a saint. It takes love and patience on His part to wait through the evil that He might make more good; to spend His time looking under bushes and rocks that He might find a lost sheep; or to sweep the house clean and search on all four for the lost treasure with the light of His Word.

The patience of God tells us much about Him. For when the Book of the Law of God is read to us, it is any wonder that he can still love us; and when the Book of the Gospel of the Lord is read to us, it is a great and mighty wonder that he would go to such expense for us and show such great patience for us that it can easily cause us to weep.

Lord, to You I Make Confession, LSB 608

Lord, to you I make confession:
I have sinned and gone astray,
I have multiplied transgression,
Chosen for myself a way.
Led by You to see my errors,
Lord, I tremble at Your terrors.

Yet, though conscience’ voice appall me,
Father, I will seek Your face;
Though Your child I dare not call me,
Yet receive me in Your grace.
Do not for my sins forsake me;
Let Your wrath not overtake me.

For Your Son has suffered for me,
Giv’n Himself to rescue me,
Died to save me and restore me,
Reconciled and set me free.
Jesus’ cross alone can vanquish
These dark fears and soothe this anguish.

Lord, on You I cast my burden –
Sink it in the deepest sea!
Let me know Your gracious pardon,
Cleanse me from iniquity.
Let Your Spirit leave me never;
Make me only Yours forever.

+ Pastor