Many times in the Bible, God gave people a chance to turn around, and repent, before He punished them. He asked them what they were doing, or He would just let a long time go by before He punished them. This time was sometimes used by the people in question to repent, but sadly, a lot of times the people ignored it, or tried to pretend nothing was wrong.
The first example that we will look at, is that of Cain, in Genesis 4. After Cain kills Abel, God comes to Cain, and asks a simple question. “Where is your brother?” God already knew what happened to Abel, but, He was giving Cain a chance to confess. Sadly, Cain did not take that chance, and tried to play stupid. God then revealed that He knew what had happened, and Cain was punished.
The next example would be that of David, in 2 Samuel 12. In this case, God didn’t come to speak David, rather He sent a prophet. If you look at the time though, there was a period of at LEAST 9 months between his sins, and the consequences. God waited that long before punishment. David could have used that time to repent, rather, he let his guilt and anguish just build up to the point that he was almost incapacitated.
One could look at Israel’s entire history to see multiple chances. They would sin, and God would wait several generations before punishing them. Sometimes, the people would come around, and repent, but many times, they did not.
The final example, this one in the New Testament would be Jesus with his Disciples, in Mark 9. The disciples were letting Jesus walk ahead of them, and were arguing over who was more important. Once they get where they were going, Jesus asked them what they were talking about on the trip, knowing full well what they were discussing. The disciples remained silent, because they were guilty.
So, how about us? When we sin, do we immediately confess and repent, and sin no more? Or do we wait till the consequences come crashing down on us to do so? We should confess sin because sin is WRONG, not because we don’t like the consequences.
You might have noticed that none of these people took the opportunity. There were people who did take the opportunity, but far many more did not. We should learn from these people’s mistakes, and do the right thing.