Fred gets a shiny new sports car. You are still driving the 2005 Crown Vic with 240,000 miles. Do you want to celebrate with Fred? More likely we resent Fred and secretly hope he wreaks the cute little thing!
Which is more difficult, to grieve with those who grieve, or rejoice with those who rejoice? For many of us the latter is more difficult.
It seems inconceivable someone would reject God’s love and grace. Even more amazing is the person doing the rejecting could be one who believes in God’s mercy!
But that’s the story of Jonah. He reluctantly proclaims God’s message to the Ninevites. They believe and turn to God. Awesome, right? No, not exactly.
This city was the capitol of Assyria which had destroyed Israel. Jonah wanted God’s judgment to fall on them. They were his enemies.
Jonah could not rejoice with people who were rejoicing that God’s disaster did not come. God’s relentless grace got through to these bad people. It infuriated Jonah.
Jonah paraphrased, said, “I knew it! I knew this would happen!” In Jonah 4:2 the prophet exclaimed,
“O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”
Jonah 4:2 ESV
Take an ISIS follower who has participated in atrocities. What if he believes the gospel of Jesus Christ receiving God’s mercy and forgiveness? Would you rejoice or be angry he didn’t get what he deserved?
Absolutely no one deserves the mercy of God. It is impossible to be good-enough to go to heaven. That includes you and me. If we say someone is too undeserving to receive salvation, then we do not understand that we all fit into the category of the undeserving.
It is only by grace through faith that you can be saved. It is not your own doing. It is the gift of God, not a result of works. No one can boast in themselves, only in God’s amazing grace! (Ephesians 2:8-9) Here is truth: God is a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
It’s not too late. God gives second chances. Please receive Jesus. (John 1:12)
God is relentlessly pursuing you!
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