Judgment Deferred


Making Sense of God's Anger

Key Bible Verse: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is long-suffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9, NKJV)

Dig Deeper: 2 Peter 3:3-10


While I understand why people advocate on behalf of the Egyptians in Exodus (Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart? Why did God drown them in the Red Sea?), when asking these questions we need to remember the big picture. Egypt was the most powerful nation on the planet and at the top of the Egyptian power “pyramid” stood Pharaoh. He was worshiped as a god. The Egyptians were the ones oppressing. Modern-day equivalents to Pharaoh would be despots like Robert Mugabe or Kim Jong-il, oppressive leaders that most would find difficult to feel compassion toward.

Why did God allow his own people to suffer so long under Egyptian oppression? Because he is a God that is slow to anger. He waited 400 years. One of the main purposes of delaying divine judgment is that it gives people opportunities to repent. Because Yahweh delayed the judgment on Nineveh, they eventually repented, and he turned away from his anger (Jonah 3:5-10).

Yahweh also waited to punish the Canaanites because, even though they were guilty already, their sin was not yet finished (Gen. 15:16). So God waited 400 years to punish the Egyptians and the Canaanites, and during this period his own people paid the price.

– David T. Lamb in God Behaving Badly

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