Nineveh was a godless city. It was known for its brutality, infanticide, and temple prostitution. It’s not surprising that Jonah did not want to follow God’s direction to go to Nineveh.
[Jonah] complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”Jonah 4:2-3 NLT
But you know the story. Jonah has a big fish experience that convinces him to obey God. He goes to Nineveh and preaches a one-sentence sermon. “In forty days, Nineveh will be destroyed!” It seems so unlikely, but the king and nobles hear the message and take it seriously. They repent and lead the whole city in repentance; they fast and pray.
So where’s the mercy?
When God saw Nineveh’s repentance and how they had stopped their evil ways, He chose not to destroy the city. God was merciful to a wicked and perverse people because they humbled themselves in repentance.
Maybe you have experienced the same feelings that Jonah felt. Maybe there are people who, in your mind, are too far gone – who don’t deserve God’s mercy. I understand that feeling, but the truth is that none of us deserve mercy. By definition, mercy means not getting what we deserve. Nineveh deserved to be destroyed, but they received mercy instead. In the Gospel of John, we read that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. The wages of sin are death. We all deserve spiritual death, separation from God, but God intervened with His redemptive plan and offered us His mercy! Hallelujah!
Prayer of Gratitude
Father, We trust in Your unfailing love and rejoice because You have rescued us. Thank You that You do not remember our sins nor count them against us but that You shower us with Your mercy and grace in Your loving-kindness. We thank You and sing Your praises; Your unfailing love is as high as the heavens. May our lives rightfully exalt You, O Lord. Amen.
*Read the book of Jonah for the story about Nineveh.