What are we impatient about? What does impatience mean? Impatience is annoyance because of delay or opposition, to bother, restless eagerness to go somewhere or to do something. Patience in doing the will of God is not an optional Christian virtue, because faith is not optional and impatience is a fruit of unbelief.
Two primary ways impatience appears:
- Throwing in the towel and giving up when trouble strikes
- Making rash, impulsive moves to correct God’s lack of action
Patience is to stay in God’s appointed place and go at God’s appointed pace.
I Corinthians 10:1-6 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
The people blamed everything on Moses, but he was just doing what God told him to do. If you get impatient, you’ll be blaming whoever you’re impatient with instead of praying to the one who can help you.
Numbers 20:1-4 Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin…and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
Moses and Aaron prayed for God’s help.
Numbers 20:5-6 And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them.
God told Moses what to do. The rod was important as part of God’s instructions. According to some historians, the rod was about 3-4 feet long. God told Moses to use the rod and when he threw it down it turned into a serpent. The magicians of Pharoah did the same thing with their rods, but the rod of Moses swallowed up their rods (Exodus 7:8-12). When the congregation needed water, God instructed Moses to take the rod and speak to the rock. Moses got impatient with the people, called them rebels, and hit the rock with his rod. Because of his impatience he didn’t believe God and follow his instructions, so God said he couldn’t go into Canaan land.
Numbers 20:9-12 And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.
Moses asked God to change his mind and allow him to go into Canaan. God told him not to talk about it anymore.
Deuteronomy 3:23-26 And I besought the Lord at that time, saying, O Lord God, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon. But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.
Moses spake unadvisedly because he didn’t speak to the rock (a type of the rock Christ Jesus). We need to make sure we speak to the rock, to not be impatient so we speak unadvisedly. There were things Moses said that didn’t help the people. If we don’t exercise patience, we’ll say things that won’t help those who hear what we say.
- T – is it true
- H – is it kind
- I – is it inspiring
- N – is it necessary
- K – is it kind
Is it beneficial? Do I have permission to share it? Is my motive pure?
Moses had to suffer the consequences because he got impatient and spoke unadvisedly.
Proverbs 21:23 Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
God wants us to learn patience and to control what we say. He wants our tongue to be restrained. Our religion is vain if we’re not bridling our tongue.
James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
Naaman was captain of the king of Syria’s army and a very important man. His wife had a little maid who was a captive from Israel and served her. When she heard Naaman had leprosy, she told his wife that the prophet in Israel could heal him. When the king of Syria heard about it, he sent a letter to the king of Israel.
II Kings 5:1-7 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. And one went in, and told his lord, saying, Thus and thus said the maid that is of the land of Israel. And the king of Syria said, Go to, go, and I will send a letter unto the king of Israel. And he departed, and took with him ten talents of silver, and six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, Now when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have therewith sent Naaman my servant to thee, that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy. And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he rent his clothes, and said, Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? wherefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeketh a quarrel against me.
The king of Israel, Jehoram, was offended by the letter. When Elisha heard about the situation, he told Jehoram to send Naaman to him. Naaman was angry when he heard what Elisha said to do so he could be healed. He had a preconceived idea about the situation. We need to check our reaction if we get angry because we have a preconceived idea about the way things will work out and it doesn’t happen that way.
II Kings 5:8-11 And it was so, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had rent his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, Wherefore hast thou rent thy clothes? let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel. So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.
When the enemy works in a situation and we get angry, we need to cry to the rock that he will help us control our anger. A soft answer will turn away wrath (Proverbs 15:1). Words can be toxic like: you’re stupid, you never or you always do such and such. When your words put someone down, you’re attacking their character instead of addressing the problem by speaking to the rock. Moses, Aaron, and the 70 elders knew that God told Moses to go up the mountain and that God was going to give him the law, his instructions (Exodus 24). But the people got impatient and wanted to do something because they weren’t willing to wait.
Exodus 32:1 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
We live in a world that everything happens in an instant – text messages, cell phones, internet search to give me answers to anything I want to know instantly. We get used to getting everything now and we don’t have to wait for anything. This doesn’t help us to be patient or know how to wait. Aaron told the people to gather all the jewelry and that didn’t happen in one day when there were possibly 2 million people.
Exodus 32:2-4 And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
It also took time to make the molds to make the gold into calves, and it took time to use the graving tool. If you get impatient, the devil will give you something to do but it won’t be what God said.
Exodus 32:5-7 And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the Lord. And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered burnt offerings, and brought peace offerings; and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play. And the Lord said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves:
When Moses came down the mountain and he saw the people rose up to play, they were naked (Exodus 32:25) and were committing fornication and adultery. They committed spiritual adultery by worshipping the calf.
I Corinthians 10:6-7 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.
The people had a free love spirit and were not willing to wait on God. If we’re not willing to wait on God, there will be repercussions. It will be through patience that we inherit the promises of God.
(Notes from the Mature Class Bible Study, teacher Edith Tolbert)