Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Drastic Measures - Part 2"

"For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." Malachi 3:6

Yesterday we talked about the drastic measures that the Lord went through to get Jonah's attention and cause him to stop running from God and His call. This morning I want to ask the question, "Why did God do that? Why didn't He just let Jonah drown? Why didn't He just forget about Nineveh since Jonah didn't want to go there?"

The reason is simple-- God is a God of love and mercy. He is not willing that any should perish. He showed Jonah mercy by sparing him. He showed Nineveh mercy by not changing His plan to send them a warning.

Nineveh and Israel were enemies. Jonah didn't want to see his nation's enemies spared. He wanted judgment to fall on them. He wanted God to destroy them. And Jonah knew that if they repented, God would forgive them and they would continue to cause trouble from his people. Listen to Jonah's words to God when they did repent and God spared them. Let me read it out of the New Living Translation because it puts it so plainly-- "So he 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 that 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." (Jonah 4:2) First, it seems to me that Jonah should have been thankful that the Lord is so gracious and merciful because had He not been, Jonah would have drowned in the sea- there would have been no fish story, that would have been the end for Jonah. (How is it that we want mercy and forgiveness for ourselves, but not necessarily for everyone else.) Secondly, because Jonah knew God he knew He does not change. He expected God to be no less than He is. He knew God would be faithful to His own nature. Therefore, He knew God would show mercy to even his enemies if they repented.

Are we like Jonah in these two areas? Do we want mercy for ourselves, but there is someone that we have dealings with that we don't want the Lord to show mercy to? Instead, we want Him to "get them"? We want His vengeance to fall on them? We don't want Him to bless their lives in any way? Do we expect God to do what He says He will do? Do we know Him so well that we know we can count on Him to always work according to His own nature? Do we expect the Lord to be who is His and no less?

Have a great day. We can expect God to be just who He is.

For further reading:
2 Peter 3:9
Psalm 86:5, 15; 103:8

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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell

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