Friday, May 16, 2014
“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:16 KJV).
Today’s Scripture expressly declares why the God of the Bible “takes His time” when dealing with sinful mankind.
Before Jesus Christ even came to Earth, He knew He would be in the midst of the very stiff-necked, sinful people with whom He Himself had dealt throughout the Old Testament economy. He came to the nation Israel, not in His wrath (Luke 9:51-56), but in His grace to her (John 1:17), the means by which she could escape her sin debt.
For three years, the Lord Jesus preached to Israel, diligently attempting to convert her, as a shepherd seeking His lost sheep (Luke 15:1-10; cf. Isaiah 53:6). The abundant miracles He performed right before her eyes, over and over and over and over again, demonstrated that He was their God/Messiah/King (Isaiah 35:3-10; Isaiah 53:4a; Matthew 8:16,17; et al.). It was impossible to accidentally miss who Jesus was—anyone who did not see who He was did not want to recognize Him.
In a parable in Luke 13:6-9 (which you should study for yourself), Jesus describes the situation. Israel is spiritually barren, destitute of the works God wanted accomplished; she is lost, captive to Satan, and has nothing but sinful deeds to offer to God. For three years, God (in the Person of Jesus Christ) came looking for any spiritual fruit in Israel; there was nothing! Jesus Christ tells God the Father to grant Israel one additional year, a one-year extension, to repent, and trust Him as Messiah.
After Jesus was rejected, crucified, buried, and raised again, He ascended back to heaven as a royal exile (Acts chapter 1). Thus, God provides Israel with a one-year extension, a renewed opportunity of repentance, His last offer to Israel to trust Jesus as Messiah/Christ. For the next year, Israel’s 12 apostles preach Jesus Christ, with some 8,000 Jews responding positively, but Israel still overwhelmingly rejecting Him. By Acts chapter 7, that one-year extension is moments from expiring: Israel is quickly approaching her limit of sin again. God’s wrath is drawing nigh….