Return to me, says the Lord of hosts, and I will return to you. Zechariah 1:3
The Lord is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
Patience is not easy for many of us. It's hard to patiently wait for presents at Christmas for a raise at work. It's often hard to be patient with people who don't listen to us, don't understand us, when we just want to get something done. Especially it is hard to be patient when somebody actually does something to wrong you. As we look at our verses today. God is very patient. Zechariah writes to people whose ancestors were brought out of Egypt, who had all kinds of remarkable things done for them by God and then immediately make a golden idol. Zechariah tells them the Lord's message is just to return to the Lord, return to following His will, and God is right there waiting to return to them.
After all, they had writings from Moses that said: “The Lord, a God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Exodus 34:6. One commentator states the patience of God is a beckoning hand, an open door. a pathway home. Doesn't matter who we are or where we are, God's patience invites our repentance. We have a Lord whose patience is perfect. God's patience is not limited by our weak imagination. It's not the shallow patience have often have one where we're patient for a few minutes and then that's it. We're done being patient. God is never done being patient.
To some, he may seem slow in his response. This seeming delay is not a result of indifference. But if patience waiting for all who will come to repentance. He wants to give everyone enough time. To listen. To follow his word. And, yes, to repent. God knows that we don't always follow his word. That we certainly aren't patient enough with other people and situations. We are blessed that God's patience with us surpasses all of our understanding.
Thank you, gracious God, for your patience with us. You love us just as we are. Our sins are many and we often stray, yet your patience with us know no bounds. You guide us in paths that always return to you. Thank you for your compassion and grace. Help us to have that same compassion and grace toward the people you place in our lives. in Jesus’ name. Amen.