Author: Timothy S. Blomstrom
"Should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are then a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left?" -Jonah 4-11
Bitterness is one of the most stubborn obstacles in the way of a graceful Christian witness. The brutal violence of the Nineveh people was well known during Jonah's time. He despised them for this and wanted to give them vengeance rather than forgiveness.
To Jonah, Ninevites were the very people who came to mind when he thought of sinners. Nineveh was full of immoral, sinful, rebellious people. Basically, people who did not deserve God's ever-loving grace.
That is the glorious thing about grace. By its very definition, grace is for undeserving people. Grace is about compassion for people who don't deserve mercy.
"I knew that you are gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." -Jonah 4-2
At the beginning of the book, Jonah is running away from the Lord (Jonah 1-3). Then, in the end, he is arguing with God. How great God's love is is what the book of Jonah is all about. God never gives up on Jonah.
What God does in the book of Jonah is the textbook definition of grace. Our God is a gracious God with ever abounding love. The grace we receive through the death and resurrection of Jesus is the same grace Jonah received from our Lord.
Have you ever found yourself fighting with God? Your desires pulling you one way, God's wishes pulling you another? Do you get the temptation of wanting to give up or run away? Jonah found himself in this exact position, and for a short while, his own desire won out over God's time. At least, that's what he thought. Even in our own lives, God accomplishes His purposes even though it means a heavy dose of humility on a prideful and unwilling heart.
MPACT Ministries is a Christian men's group helping us understand "grace for the imperfect man." Please visit our webpage, Facebook page, or Instagram account for daily verses and devotionals and ways to help us help others.