The word "willingly" means "to wish" or "be inclined to," while the word "ignorant" means "to hide" or "to be ignorant of a thing."
Therefore, it was the intent of the scoffers we discussed last week to ignore the facts of what had occurred in nature since time began. The apostle used the example of the great flood in Noah’s time as a rebuttal to the claim that all things had continued the same since the beginning.
In the beginning, the earth was formed by the separation of the waters. It was kept in store (compacted) by such a separation, and it was destroyed when the separation was no longer maintained. During the flood, the windows of heaven were opened and the fountains of the deep were broken up (Gen. 7).
These waters were used as instruments in the hand of God as he brought judgment on the wicked world.
Peter reminded his readers that the word of God created and then destroyed the world. He also prompted them to remember that the heavens and earth they enjoyed were kept in store by that same word. To be kept in store for the fiery destruction at the Day of Judgment.
The ungodly will not cease to exist. Just as the earth did not cease to exist, neither will the wicked. They will be changed, along with being punished, as consequences of their sins.
Paul wrote: "And to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (2 Thess. 1:7-10)
Peter now turns his attention to the idea that because it had been so long, and the Lord had not returned, it will not happen. Peter points out that time does not affect what God has promised, and Peter seems to quote from Psalm 90:4: "For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night."
Man may make a promise and after a time forget his promise, even die before fulling the promise, or simply not keep his word. God is not that way – for he is not like man.
Examples are found in the Old Testament that show this thought. In Exodus 19, it is recorded that Amalek fought with Israel in Rephidim. When the battle was over, God told Moses, "Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven" (Exodus 17:14).
This promise was not fulfilled until the time of King Solomon (1 Samuel 15). It might have seemed that God had forgotten, but he had not.
His promise was fulfilled. The promise of the second coming would and will happen, but in God’s time, not man’s.