“(Jonah) prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.'” – Jonah 4:2
In the ancient times, Nineveh was one of the most powerful cities. Known for violence and wickedness, the people of Nineveh were the worst of the worst. Even the prophet Jonah preferred to go just about anywhere else. Eventually, Jonah stopped running from God and arrived in Nineveh with a message that convicted each and every person. From the king down to the peasants, the entire city repented of their sins and cried out for God’s mercy.
God saw their repentant hearts and responded and spared the city. Surprisingly, Jonah was not pleased with this turn of events. He hated the Ninevites and wanted to see them face God’s judgement. Have you ever felt that way? All too quickly, Jonah had forgotten the same love and mercy he had received after running from God.
You see, God’s character is unchanging and the same mercy and forgiveness that Jonah experienced, God offers to everyone who turns to Him – including the people of Nineveh. So what do we know about the character of God?
- He is Slow to Anger
- He is Overflowing in Lovingkindness
- He is Forgiving
How often do we attempt to cut God out of our lives and do our own thing? How often do we run from God’s will? How often do we intentionally rebel by living in sin and wickedness like the people of Nineveh?
God’s greatest desire is that everyone experience His forgiveness and be restored into a right relationship with Him. Nothing gives God greater joy than seeing a person repent and turn from their sins towards Himself. Have you been running from God? Maybe today is the day you need to stop running and cry out for mercy. No matter your past, God’s forgiveness and mercy is bigger. Just look at Jonah and the people of Nineveh!