David’s son, Absalom, murdered his other son, Amnon, for raping his daughter, Tamar. What a family drama. After much time and prodding from those closest to him, David let Absalom come home. He was patient with his son.
After this, Absalom bought a chariot and horses, and he hired fifty bodyguards to run ahead of him. He got up early every morning and went out to the gate of the city. When people brought a case to the king for judgment, Absalom would ask where in Israel they were from, and they would tell him their tribe. Then Absalom would say, "You've really got a strong case here! It's too bad the king doesn't have anyone to hear it. I wish I were the judge. Then everyone could bring their cases to me for judgment, and I would give them justice!" (2 Samuel 15:1-4 NLT)
Patience is a funny thing. Sometimes the person we are being patient with changes. He or she sees the error of his or her ways. There is repentance. There is reconciliation.
After four years, Absalom said to the king, "Let me go to Hebron to offer a sacrifice to the LORD and fulfill a vow I made to Him. For while your servant was at Geshur in Aram, I promised to sacrifice to the LORD in Hebron if he would bring me back to Jerusalem." "All right," the king told him. "Go and fulfill your vow." So Absalom went to Hebron. But while he was there, he sent secret messengers to all the tribes of Israel to stir up a rebellion against the king. "As soon as you hear the ram's horn," his message read, "you are to say, 'Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron.'" (2 Samuel 15:7-10 NLT)
Sometimes, though, like with Absalom, patience gives a person time to make things worse. He goes in a downward spiral. His words and actions become more hurtful, more purposefully rebellious, more evil. That’s because patience with wrong gives the person another chance to choose.
A messenger soon arrived in Jerusalem to tell David, "All Israel has joined Absalom in a conspiracy against you!" "Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!" David urged his men. "Hurry! If we get out of the city before Absalom arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster." "We are with you," his advisers replied. "Do what you think is best." So the king and all his household set out at once. He left no one behind except ten of his concubines to look after the palace. (2 Samuel 15:13-16 NLT)
The same is true with us and God. When we rebelled against God, God was patient with us. I can say that with confidence because I am here writing this and you are here reading it. God did not zap us right away for our rebellion. God was patient with us. God’s patience is giving us another chance to choose.
How about you? Are you patient with people who have wronged you? Do you see that it gives them another opportunity to choose? Do you see where God has been patient with you? Have you thanked God for giving you another chance to choose?