Reading: Jonah 3: 1-5 & 10
Verse Ten: “He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened”.
Today we pick up the story of Jonah part way through. Jonah has already been told to go to Nineveh, fled the other direction, been tossed into the sea during a fierce storm, been swallowed by a fish, prayed to God, and was vomited on to dry land. This is Jonah 1 and 2 in a nutshell. Our passage today begins with God speaking a second time to Jonah, instructing him to go to the great city of Nineveh to give a message which calls for their repentance.
Nineveh is a great city with over 120,000 residents. Our passage tells us that it takes three days to visit the city. We also learn that it is a city of wickedness. God calls Jonah to go to save the city from destruction. This is the first indication of God’s compassionate love. God desires for the city to turn from its evil ways. God’s compassionate love is also shown to Jonah as God is willing to tell him a second time to go to Nineveh. God could have let Jonah drown and found another messenger.
Jonah goes to Nineveh and preached, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be over turned”. The people believe God and a citywide fast is declared by the king. The people also put on sackcloth as a sign of their repentance. The king led the people to do this in hope that God would be compassionate and would relent. In verse ten we read, “He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened”. God delivered the second chance that He wanted to give the city. The story does not end here either. God still has some work to do with Jonah. Even though God’s purposes for Nineveh have been completed, God still loves Jonah and goes on to show that.
In the continuing work that God does with Jonah we come to see that God not only gives Jonah a second chance, but also a third… God does not give up on Jonah. He continues to bring Jonah along, ever shaping him into who he was created to be. This is a beautiful thing about our God. He continues to do the same thing for each and every one of us. In His great love, God works and works and works to help us along our Christian walk. He never gives up on us. It is a beautiful thing. Thanks be to God for His never-ending compassionate love for you and for me.