By Elder Enoch Ofori Jnr.
Patience is not a welcome word in our fast-track world. People desire instant gratification, and justice served hot and fast is justice obtained. After all, justice delayed is said to be justice denied.
So why does God enjoin the believer to be “patient in tribulation, continuing instant in prayer? (Rom. 12:12).
As a matter of fact, longsuffering (patience) is a manifestation of “the fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22). So again, would the God of justice never avenge the suffering and persecution of His children?
Narrating the Parable of the Unjust Judge who avenged the injustice of a widow upon persistent demand, Christ affirms: “And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? l tell that He will avenge them speedily” (Luke 18:7-8).
The situation is best illustrated by the patience an abused, hated child of ‘an absentee landlord’ must have, while his father delays. Once the father returns, the child is sure to get his revenge: The father will take vengeance on the persecutors of his child. (See Luke 20:9 -16).
Christians are not to hit back at our persecutors not simply because we must show mercy to those who deliberately and viciously persecute us for no other reason than hatred; it’s because our God will eventually take vengeance on our persecutors. This is the underlying truth of Rom. 12:19: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘ It is Mine to avenge; l will repay; says the Lord” (NIV).
By not taking vengeance into our own hands, we make room for God to bring His wrath on our enemies. This is the patience of the saints!
In Malachi 2:17 the LORD listens in on the complaint of His saints.
“You have wearied the LORD with your words; Yet you say, ‘In what way have me wearied Him? In that you say, ‘Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and He delights in them’, Or, ‘Where is the God of justice?’”
The LORD replies His people, promising His judgment will be sudden and severe:
“Behold, l send My messenger, and he will prepare the way before Me. And the LORD, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight. Behold, He is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap.
“He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD an offering in righteousness.
“Then the offering of
LORD, as in the days of old, as in former years.
“And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulteress, against perjurers, against
those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, and against those who turn away an alien–because they do not fear Me’,
says the LORD.
“For I am the LORD, l do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob (Mal. 3: 1-6; see also 3: 3–18 NKJV).
The wicked will be punished and the righteous pacified and rewarded. Meanwhile, we need to prepare the way of the Lord through a life of holiness based on true repentance. And the LORD our avenger will suddenly come–now and ultimately to punish and root out evil (4:2,3).
In Rev. 6:9, the martyred saints of God let out a cry for revenge: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How Long, O Lord, Holy
and True, dost Thou not judge and avenge our blood on them That dwell on the earth? (v. 10).
In reply the Lord told them that “they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” (v. 11).
Child of God, take heart; the LORD to whom belongs vengeance will take revenge on your enemies. (See Ps. 94:1–11). ” For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be” (Ps 37:10).
The Third Angel’s message in the book of Revelation contains such a promise of divine vengeance against the persecutors and tormentors of the saints. Herein lies “the patience of the saints”:
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented wish fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb.
“And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:9–12; see 13:10).
It’s indeed a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Heb. 10:31). We only “have need of patience”; the Lord will surely fulfill His promise to punish our enemies (v. 36). While persecution is a manifest sign of our membership in the
So let’s rest assured, we are the victors in every situation, being “more than conquerors”. Nothing shall separate us from “the love of Christ”, not persecution nor death (Rom. 8:35–39).
In our trials, persecution and rejection by men, we are not forsaken; therefore we have set our face like a flint:
“For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall l not be confounded: therefore have l set my face like a flint, and l know that l shall not be ashamed.
“He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? Let us stand together: who is mine adversary? Let him come near to me.
“Behold, the Lord GOD will help me: who is he that shall condemn me? Lo, they all shall wax old as a garment; the moth shall eat them up” (Isa. 50:7-9).
Strong is the Lord God who judges the enemy (Rev. 18:8; Prov. 23: 10-11). In this lies the patience of God’s saints: “LORD, you have heard the desire [petition] of the humble; You will prepare their heart; You will cause Your ear to hear, To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may oppress no more” (Ps 10:17–18 NKJV). Amen!