Friday, June 19, 2015
The Jonah Principle, part 4
Not much has changed in the nature of man. We still want evil men to be judged (those we consider evil). We want God to give us justice, to execute those who have done wrong.
Jonah wanted that too. He hoped it would happen. He found a shady spot and watched to see the wicked city of Nineveh destroyed.
But he missed the heart of God. God wanted the people of Nineveh to change their lives and seek him. They did! And God gave them mercy. He forgave them.
In this last chapter of Jonah, after God had wonderfully worked in Nineveh, he still had his prophet to deal with. Jonah wanted justice, revenge. God wanted mercy and grace. How do we change the heart of this last rebel, Jonah? How do we get him to see that God wants everyone saved, even the ones we consider wicked terrible sinners?
Jonah was angry that God had forgiven these people. Much like the older brother of the prodigal son he didn't think it was fair. They deserved judgement, not mercy. But don't we all deserve judgement really? Aren't we all guilty?
In this final chapter of the book God gives us one more principle- God is a God of mercy and grace. He wants everyone to be part of his family if they will only trust him. He is not a vengeful God. He's a God of grace, mercy and forgiveness.
How do we get the prophet to see that? At the end of the story that question is left unanswered. We don't know if he ever got the heart of God on this. It's left unanswered because it's the question for us as well. Principle #4 is this- God is merciful, gracious and full of lovingkindness. Are we?
Of all people on the earth God's kids should be like their father, but more often than not we are like Jonah. We want God to nuke them all! God wants them to seek him, to trust him and to find his love just as we have done. How could we want anything else for the lost man?
Yes, there will be a day when God will judge those who refuse the gift he has given, but today, as in Jonah's day, he wants men to turn to him and find forgiveness and mercy. Oh that we had that same heart.