When we consider the mission of Elijah, we think about the process of repentance. The Apostle Peter calls our attention to the probability that in the "last days", even many of the servants of God would need repentance. We read:
We would like to concentrate at this time on the comfort in this message. We have been told that God intends to judge this world with fire. We have also been informed that God is not slack concerning his promises. He will perform all that he has promised. His word is sure.
Normally, we would not think of this warning of impending judgment as comforting, but there is another part of the message that we should take consolation in. God is not willing that any should perish.
God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He would much prefer that wicked men turn from their evil and repent. That explains why he has not already destroyed us all for our sins. That is also why he is providing us all with a little more time to turn again to the Lord, before the judgments come.
Peter has reminded us in this 3rd chapter, that there was another time and another judgment. The flood that destroyed the earth in the "days of Noah" was intended as an example. God does judge His people, and in that day, the judgment was universal and final, for all but the eight people who were saved by water, as a type of our own baptism.
Jesus has also spoken about this same judgment period. We read in Luke 17:
Today, the world is reserved for a judgment by fire. A judgment as sudden and unexpected as it was in the days of Noah and Lot.
There is another common denominator between the former judgments and the one that is coming. Peter also tells us that: "the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water" (I Peter 3:20).
For one hundred and twenty years, while Noah and his family were preparing the ark, God waited patiently for others to come to repentance. We are told that Noah was "a preacher of righteousness" (II Peter 2:5).
While they were building, he was preaching to his neighbors. They were provided with ample opportunity to turn from their ungodliness. But it is apparent that in all of that time, none other than his own family listened to the call.
Today, wickedness is great in the earth, and Jesus himself has asked the question "Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8) However, no matter how corrupt the world is, God still is willing to provide time for even a few to return unto Him.
While we wait for the return of Christ, the blessings of God still are being abundantly provided to the children of men. We may not appreciate these blessings as we should. The Psalmist was inspired to write: "Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!" (Psalm 107)
These words appear at least four times in Psalm 107. You would think that we would get the hint. Why are all of these blessings given unto us? To help us in our effort to turn to God. We are told in Romans 2:
As we wait and wonder about the return of the Lord, let us remember that God does keep his promises. His judgments are only delayed because of His love for His people. He showers us with blessings to encourage us to praise Him. He provides us with more time than we deserve, because He truly wants us to return unto him.