When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law (Galatians 4:4).
Patience is an evidence of mercy. God’s patience and mercy are often linked in the Scriptures (Exodus 34:6; Numbers 14:18; Psalms 86:15). Mercy is compassion toward that which is pitiful and miserable; patience is the power of self-control to bear with the weak or the wicked.
A woman once complained when a group of homeless men were told they couldn’t sleep on the front stoop of the church when we were meeting. She had mercy for them. When I suggested she take them home to sleep on her porch, she revealed a personal impatience for such a suggestion. It was the last time she ever attended our church.
Nahum 1:3 says that God is slow to anger and great in power…. He is slow to anger because of His power; He is ever in control of Himself. His mercy is a response to the condition of the creature; His patience is a restraint of Himself because of His self-control.
Unsaved men look at God’s self-control and think it means He doesn’t exist or judge. Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of me is fully set in them to do evil (Ecclesiastes 8:11). But God can only be what He is. While emotion flies off the handle even at evil, God is patient.
Mankind sins at a breakneck speed, openly defying Him and celebrating what He forbids. Yet God doesn’t wipe out the sinner immediately for his sin. Why? God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy … even us (Romans 9:22, 23, 24). He’s patient with the wicked because He is patient with us (2 Peter 3:9).
He was patient sending Jesus because the law had to be shown to be a complete failure at saving anyone. He gave Israel 1,400 years to live by the law, but not even a prophet, priest or king could keep the Commandments. When the time was right, Jesus came!