Oh, the Mercy and the Grace of God! – Part 2
“[Jonah prayed,] ‘Now Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ But the Lord replied, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’” (Jonah 4:3-4 NIV)
Jonah got angry when God didn’t punish the people of Nineveh after they repented of their sins. He admitted to God that the reason he had not wanted to preach there in the first place was because he knew that God was “a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents to send calamity.” The problem was that Jonah did want God’s judgment to come upon the people that had been oppressing Israel.
Little did Jonah realize how much of a recipient of God’s mercy and longsuffering he himself was. Let’s face it: God was patient with Jonah! In the natural, you or I would have said, “You don’t want to do what I told you to do when I said, ‘Go to Nineveh and preach to them.’ And on top of that, you’re now running away from me. I’ll just find somebody else!” Oh, I am so glad that God doesn’t look for somebody else when we’re headstrong and try to do our own thing instead of going God’s way. He was still willing to use Jonah, and he even put kindness in the sailors of the ship that Jonah boarded in his quest to flee from God. They said, “No we don’t want to throw you overboard. You might die!” They finally had no choice but to remove Jonah from the ship, but God delivered him from drowning, and then he delivered him from the belly of the fish that God had sent to swallow him.
God asked Jonah a second time to go and preach to the people of Nineveh, just as he may be telling you for a second time, “Stop running! Go where I told you!” Or perhaps he’s saying to you, “Apologize to that person that I’ve been dealing with you about”; or “I’m telling you once again: You need to change your attitude. But you don’t have to do it alone; I’ll help you!”
To be continued...
Read Jonah 4:1-5.