The commentaries actual say some conflicting things about this verse, and some translations have very different words here. I went back to my old faithful King James, and as I studied, I was struck by this fact . . . our Father is so patient.
Not that we are always happy about that. Sometimes we are like little kids and we want to see God point His finger at the wicked sinner that is causing us trouble, or that has more goodies and prosperity than we do, and zap 'em with some lightning. Leave a little sooty spot behind, nothing more.
Listen to what Job said, as he said in chapter 21:
7 Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? 8 They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. 9 Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not upon them. 10 Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. 11 They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about. 12 They sing to the music of tambourine and harp; they make merry to the sound of the flute. 13 They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. 14 Yet they say to God, 'Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. 15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?'I had to chuckle when I read that --- Job says that even their livestock lead charmed lives! On a more serious note, Jeremiah asked a similar question in Jer. 12:1:
You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?And Jesus addressed this, too:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45)Sure, it bothers us that the wicked people can prosper now. Sure, we know that we are in it for the long haul -- that our rewards will be mighty in the eternal scheme of things. And that is nothing to belittle . . . it's a promise to treasure. Jesus' words in Matthew tell us that, for the Christian, God’s patience, His mercy on those who have no regard for Him, is an example for us to follow in treating those who hate us.
If our holy and righteous Father can be patient and kind, then so can we. The time of the sinner, of the fool and the transgressor, is coming. Don't fuss and fume about it. After all, we should be glad that He had patience with us --- He could have terminated our lives before the light of His truth dawned on us!
God will settle these accounts in His own time --- He gives sinful men and women lots of time to repent and turn their lives around.
II Peter 3:9 tells us: The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.I don't know about you, but I sure am glad that He was patient with me!