Jonah 3 & 4 (NIV)
Jonah Goes to Nineveh
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth… [continue reading here]
There are three main truths that I came away with from the last two chapters of Jonah.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)
When God calls us to be part of His plan, He has already done all the work. All He wants is for us to obey and experience His glory and learn a thing or two in the process. We are reminded of this in Ephesians 2:10 where it says, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” When Jonah obeyed and preached God’s word, it says, “The Ninevites believed God” (v. 5). Their hearts were ripe and ready because God had already been working on them. Jonah just had to preach. Jonah had the privilege to witness a people turn away from their sinful ways and repent. He also learned about God’s unending grace and mercy first-hand.
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Exodus 33:19)
Jonah’s reaction to God’s mercy on Nineveh was not a positive one. He did not want God to be merciful to these people who were not only evil in their ways but whom he considered to be enemies of the Israelites. The bottom line is that we have no right to be angry with God and question His judgment. God states in Exodus 33:19 that “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Who are we to question His actions? It says in Isaiah 29:16, “Can the pot say to the potter, ‘You know nothing’?” Do we realize that He is our sovereign Creator?
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:8-9)
To me, it is ever so evident from Jonah and numerous other passages in the Bible, as well as my own personal experience that Jesus did not come to judge and condemn, but to forgive, redeem and restore. God is in the business of loving. His first and foremost purpose is to reconcile us to Him. Judgment and condemnation are simply a natural and inevitable consequence of our rejection to His love. As we’ve heard many times and is always a good reminder, it says in 1 John 4:8-9, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” God sent His one and only Son so we might live, not die.
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