Why does God put up with us?

1st August, 2010 - Posted by Claire Larsen - No Comments

As I’ve been reading and writing about ancient history, one question keeps coming into my mind?  How did the human race make it this far? Or, to put it another way, why did God put up with the wickedness of men for so many centuries?

What information we have about very ancient history is sparse and contradictory. The Egyptian pharaohs have two or three ways to spell their names. (And who really knows how to accurately write or say names from ancient hieroglyphics?) The dates — they are approximate, and there are more variations on the timetables than there are spellings of the pharaohs’ names. What information we have about early civilizations focus on military conquest — who was conquering who and how long did each empire last?

Having said all this, what remains of early history has left us stories of one people group after another fighting for power and fighting for territory. Technological advances center around making better weapons of war — chariots and composite bows — and success is defined by how many other nations you overpower. Many of the kings were simply cruel. Their goal was to terrorize people into submission and to destroy everything that stood in their way. Added to the brutality and greed was gross idolatry. How could reasonable people worship gods with heads of rams or ibises? How could creatures made in the image of God sacrifice other human beings, particularly their own children, to these capricious gods?

Our hearts today are  greedy, too, and we worship gods of success, power, and security instead of the God who created the heavens and the earth. Yet, when I read about the warlike Myceneans or the cruel Assyrians who chopped off the heads of their enemies and stuck them on poles for all to see, I wonder how we made it this far. Why didn’t God say enough is enough? Having destroyed the earth once by a  flood, why didn’t God blow everything away with a blusterous tornado or burn everything up with raging wildfires?.

Instead, God chose one people group, the Hebrews, to be His covenant people. Their sin against each other and their idolatry against God was evident, too, but God didn’t give up on them either. Would I have been so patient if I were God? Would I have sent my Son to die for such a miserable lot? I wonder.

The good news is that God did “put up with us,” and He provided salvation for us. I am reminded again that having been bought with the price of Jesus’ blood, I don’t really own myself any more. I don’ t belong to me, and I am indebted to the God who purchased me. That being true, I should be grateful for His love, serve Him joyfully no matter what happens to me, and never forget the mercy of God that He has chosen to “put up with me” as well.

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