Thursday, 13 December 2012

Living patiently, prepared for an Old Testament timescale


I had an excellent meeting yesterday with a superb Christian blogger from Durham named Alastair J Roberts -

Among many wise things he said to me concerning the situation of the serious modern Christian, was his emphasis on the necessity for the kind of patience exhibited by Abraham and others in the Old Testament.

Christians are not in a situation when we can win in the short term, and if we are impatient it will lead to disaster.


Alastair described many instances in the Old Testament in which the impatience of Israel - even impatience in getting what was destined to come in its due time - was punished by God.

God wanted His individual people and His nation to have certain things - such as to be ruled by a King - but only when they were mature, and if such things were demanded urgently, when the person or the people were not mature, then disaster would inevitably ensue.

This inspires me to study much more carefully the Old Testament, and learn from the faithful endurance of the great figures described therein; whose timescale was measured in generations, not years, nor weeks, nor the daily schedule of a blogger...



Ron said...

Impatience seems to me to be the wrong word, I think instances of "patience" with Abraham, or "impatience" in Israel's case, are simply instances of faith in action or a lack of faith. If we are faithful, and understand that God is faithful, then we can act with a view to the long term, which might be seen as patience.

bgc said...

@Ron - I think you are hair-splitting!

Patience is one of the major Christian virtues - and it is reasonable to emphasize it when it is especially lacking in society (including in myself - I should add!)

One of my very favourite poets wrote a great poem on Patience:

FHL said...

"And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel: and the people mourned greatly.

40 And they rose up early in the morning, and gat them up into the top of the mountain, saying, Lo, we be here, and will go up unto the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned.

41 And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye transgress the commandment of the Lord? but it shall not prosper.

42 Go not up, for the Lord is not among you; that ye be not smitten before your enemies.

43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and ye shall fall by the sword: because ye are turned away from the Lord, therefore the Lord will not be with you.

44 But they presumed to go up unto the hill top: nevertheless the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses, departed not out of the camp.

45 Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.with you and you will fall by the sword.”

44 Nevertheless, in their presumption they went up toward the highest point in the hill country, though neither Moses nor the ark of the Lord’s covenant moved from the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down and attacked them and beat them down all the way to Hormah."

These verses have always terrified me...

FHL said...

That last passage contains an error, I believe. I think it is KJV mixed with NIV. Ignore everything after verse 45, because I think I starts repeating then, using the NIV version.

bgc said...

@FHL - for future reference - Blogger will not let you modify comments; but if desired you can delete your own comment (but not anybody elses!), and repost a corrected version.