Jonah 3:1, 10 "Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time:. . . . .When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah is a very interesting book. The prophet is an interesting fellow. The whole book speaks of his own desire not to preach repentance to the Ninevites. He wants to see them get what he thinks they deserve. But, thank God, God was not deterred at all by Jonah's actions. God had a plan and His plan went forth. First of all, God showed mercy to Jonah by giving him a second chance to do His bidding. There's a lot in here that we could talk about, and a lot I can truthfully say I don't understand. But I do see the great mercy of God in all of it. And you can bet that the belly of a great fish would definitely propel you to pray!!! It's so good to know that even in the belly of the fish, God was there--we are told that the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah--and as Jonah prayed, God heard his prayer. Jonah hit the ground running. I don't know if Jonah told all his fish story, but you could imagine that it would get the attention of his audience. And his audience had listening ears. They repented! And God did not bring the destruction. Jonah's reaction: But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee 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. Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." God rebuked Jonah concerning his attitude, ". . . But Ninevah has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"
Jonah heard the word of the Lord, and delivered it. He really knew God's heart, but He did not embrace God's heart. Sometimes we cry for justice when mercy is what we really need. Jonah's voice was effective, but his heart missed out on the joy and celebration. Oh, that we, as God's children, would embrace His heart. Jonah was a vessel of the Lord to the people of Nineveh. Romans 11 speaks of the rejection of the Israelites of God's salvation, Jesus Christ, the Messiah. I believe this passage speaks greatly to what we see in Jonah. Again I ask: Did they stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious. But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!. . . I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The deliverer will come from Zion; he will turn godlessness away from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them when I take away their sins." As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, for God's gifts and his call are irrevocable. Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God's mercy to you. For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! "Who knows the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?" "Who has ever given to God that God should repay him?" For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 3:23, 24 puts it this way: . . . for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Bottom line: God is God and we are not!!! Thank God!!! Peter says this to us: The LORD is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. . . .But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. . . But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen (2 Peter 3:9-18).