“SLOW CAN BE GOOD TOO                              By Pastor YAU

Text: 2 Peter 3:1-9                                                     June 27, 2010.

 

INTRODUCTION:

1)   Words of writers: Julie A. Link wrote: “If there were a contest for the most popular virtue of life today, I suspect that “fast” would beat “best.” Many parts of the world seem to be obsessed with speed. The “fast” craze, however, is getting us nowhere.” Another writer, Carl Honore, says something like this in his book, In Praise of Slowness, “The time has come to challenge our obsession with doing everything faster. Speed is not always the best policy.”

2)   Words of Peter: According to the Bible, Honore is right. Peter warned that in the last days, people would doubt God because it seems He is too slow in fulfilling his promise to return. Peter pointed out, however, this seeming slowness is a good thing. God is actually demonstrating His patience by giving people more time to repent, (3:9), and also being true to His character as being patient and slow to anger. (Exodus 34:6)

 

EXAMPLES OF SLOW IN THE BIBLE:

1)    In the creation account: “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished his work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.” (Genesis 2:1-2) No one would doubt that God has the power and ability to do all his work of creation in one day, or one hour or a blink of an eye if He so choose to but he didn’t. Instead God chose to do it in a much slower pace, six full days. There is no indication or explanation in the Bible why God did it that way. We all can see that God chose a much slower way to do that important work, the creation of the universe for his own reason and purpose and there is no need for God to explain to anyone.

2)    In fulfillment of a promise: “Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born to him.” (Genesis 21:5) God called Abraham to venture to Canaan when he was 75 years old. (Gen. 12:4)God made a promise to him that he would have a son after he had lived in Canaan for 10 years when he was 85. (Gen. 15:1-6; 16:3)Then God waited for another 15 years to give him a son as He has promised. Why didn’t God speed up the process of giving him a son sooner? Why did God wait until Sarah felt her body was as good as dead? (Gen. 18:11-13)We don’t know the heart of God and no one may question His wisdom of doing things so slowly. We only know that it took God a long time, 15 years, to fulfill His promise.

3)    In the making of a leader: “Moses agreed to stay with the man... During that long period of time, the king of Egypt died.” (Ex. 2:21, 23) Then in Deut. 34:7, we read, “Moses was 120 years old when he died.” Most Bible scholars suggested that the 120 years of Moses’ life may be divided into 3 parts, with 40 years each: 40 years in the Egyptian palace as a prince, 40 in the Median land as a shepherd and 40 years in the wilderness as the leader of the exodus. If God has a plan of delivering the Israelis from the suffering of slavery, why did he wait for 40 years for Moses to learn, to mature and to know the wilderness? Can’t God make Moses a leader in 4 years or less instead of 40? No one knows the answer. All we know is that God took on a much slower process of 40 years to make Moses suitable for the job.

4)    In His plan of redemption: “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)Besides the symbolism of salvation in the early parts of the Old Testament, God made a clear promise on His plans of salvation in Isaiah 9:6 and Micah 5:2. But it took over 500 years for God to send His son Jesus to be born in Bethlehem during the occupation of the Roman Empire. Almost all Bible scholars agree that it was the best time in history for Jesus to be born in that place and at that time so the message of salvation may travel and spread all over the world as God has planned. It is very slow, but it is the best timing. Do you believe that God knows when to do what and he is never too late?

 

FAST MAY NOT BE GOOD:

1)   God sets all the rules: Scientists and physicists told us that if the planet earth moves just a little faster then it is, the temperature on the surface will eventually bring this little ball into an inferno. If the earth moves just a little slower, this little ball will get freeze and nothing could exist much less grow. In his infinite wisdom, God knows exactly how fast or slow each thing may grow, move and live. It takes about 36 weeks to have a human baby fully develop to be born perfectly normal. Anything faster than that needs a lot of extra effort to keep the baby alive. This principle also applies to all other created things from animal to vegetation to cosmic movements.

2)   God is slow to anger: “And He passed in front of Moses proclaiming: the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God slow to anger abounding in love and faithfulness.” (Exodus 34:6)God appeared again to Moses after his giving of the first of the Ten Commandments and all other laws in Ex. 20-31. In seeing the adulterous acts of the Israelis in 32, Moses was raged and smashed the tablets of the law. By the grace and love of God, He called Moses to the mountain again and gave him the law again. God also proclaimed his name and his nature, God of compassion, slow to anger and abound in love. Moses was quick to anger, but God was lot more slow to do that.

3)   Quick temper brings folly: “A quick-tempered man does foolish things.” (Proverbs 14:17)The classic example on making foolish quick judgment by Prophet Eli on Hannah in 1 Samuel 1:14. Without knowing all the facts, Eli was quick to pass judgment on Hannah whom he believed to be drunk. Many people make foolish comments or judgments so fast that bring shame and expose their ignorance. Others commit crimes too fast before they can make a wise decision with a cool head. James advised us “quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19)

4)   Slow to make big decision: Many life decisions should be made slowly with lots of information, deliberation, knowledge and prayer. Matters like marriage, job change, major purchases and investments, etc. are never matters of speed. These decisions have long term effects to your life and the life of your family. They may affect your future for years to come. It is wise that you made these decisions slowly and carefully.

 

NEVER BLAME GOD FOR BEING SLOW: (2 Peter 3:1-9)

1)   Don’t make fun of God: “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their evil desires.” (3:3)When we don’t understand God’s intention and reasons how God does things, we need to admit that we do not have the wisdom to know God’s heart. No one is wise enough to make fun of God and his ways of doing things. God declares in Isaiah 55:8 “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” Making fun of God means disrespect of God and that is the last thing anyone would do.

2)   Don’t question his second coming: “They will say: where is this coming he promised?” (3:4)Since the days of Jesus, people were deeply interested in knowing his Second Coming and signs of the end time. Jesus warned the people not to be cheated by false prophets who claimed to know what Jesus didn’t know. Jesus told his people that only God the Father knows when the end time will come. We need to be prepared in watchful spirit so won’t be caught in surprise. Jesus warned us of false teachers and their false prophecy about his Second Coming.

3)   Don’t use human measures: “Do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (3:8) Since God is eternal, he is not limited by time or space. We cannot use our human method to measure God’s timing. Time has no meaning or bearing to God and his ways of doing things. This also applies to the timing of God’s answering our prayers. We need to know God’s way. We can’t ask God to do things our way.

4)   Don’t forget God is love: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance.” (3:9)God has a purpose in slowing down the Second Coming and that is to save more souls of men. How soon or fast the Second Coming may happen is not important. To give more time for all men to have a chance to be saved is more important. The first coming of Jesus is by the love of God, and his Second Coming is also by his love.

 

CONCLUSION:

1)    Trust God’s timing: Either it is fast or slow, God knows the best. He is God and He knows better and more than anyone of us. His timing is always the best for all things and all people. We need to be patient with God’s timing of doing things. God may be slow but He is never too late.

2)    Trust God’s love: Even when things do not happen fast as we want them to or the way we want them to be, never doubt God’s love in all things. His purpose is always for our own good. His infinite love is the basis on which He works. Never doubt His love even when things don’t go our way. In due time, God will show us His plans and purpose.

3)    Place your trust in God: If you have never trusted anyone in the past, you may want to consider this: place your trust in God. God will never betray your trust. He will be the Lord of your life and the guide to your future. Pour out your heart to Him and confess your sins. Ask Him to forgive you and enter your heart to lead your life. With God walking by your side, you have nothing to lose in the world and in the world to come.