“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that He had said He would do to them, and He did not do it.”
What a powerful picture of God’s mercy among a people who warranted His wrath. That’s the whole picture from the very beginning of Jonah. God is saying, “I am about to bring destruction upon Nineveh, for their evil has come up before me.”
God displays his mercy on the wicked people of Ninevah who believed God and repented of their sins.
That’s the language in Jonah 1:2. “For their wickedness. But God, in His mercy, sends a prophet with a message that, because of evil and wickedness, you are going to be overthrown.” That’s the language in verse four. Yet 40 days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. And right after that, it says, “The people of Nineveh believed God. And they called for a fast, and they put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them, and the King of Nineveh leads the people to turn in repentance. And when God saw what they did,” so here’s the verse we just read, “How they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that He said He would do to them, and he did not do it.” God will save, by His mercy, all who trust in Him, all who turn from sin.
This is the exact same message we have to share with people right around us today and peoples and nations all around the world. God is just, He hates evil and wickedness and sin, and all sinners before Him deserve His Holy judgment. Yet, God is merciful. For all who turn from their sin and trust in Him, who believe Him, He will relent, save them from judgment, and show them His mercy. Who can you share that with today? Somebody in your life, in my life needs to hear this today. Peoples, nations around the world, not just Nineveh, I think about unreached people group today, the Noshi Chechens in Russia, about a million and a half of them. A handful of followers of Jesus in this north caucus region of Russia.
Let’s pray. God, we pray that the Chechens of Russia would hear this news, that somebody would bring this news to them. God, raise up a Jonah who will obey you and go. Raise up brothers and sisters in nearby places to the north caucus regions in far away places. Raise up brothers and sisters from this podcast to go and to proclaim your message of judgment and mercy for all who will look to you, turn to you, trust in you. God, we pray for your salvation remain known among the Chechens of Russia. Please, God, cause it to be so. God, we pray for this for friends and family members around us, God, especially as we are spending time in different ways, even in the midst of distance from family. God, we pray that you would give us boldness to share this message with people around us today, this week, to say to people who deserve your judgment because of their sin, to tell people that you’re merciful and you will save them from their sin, to tell them that judgment is coming, that an eternal hell is coming, but you’ve made a way for them to experience heaven. You’ve made a way for them to experience life and your love, and they can experience that if they will believe you, if they will turn to you. God, give us urgency, we pray, to share this gospel this week.
God, we pray that our lives and our churches amidst so many distractions around us right now, I just think about and the culture I live in, the country I live in, and even in your church, so many different distractions that are keeping us from focusing on the urgency of eternity and what’s going to matter 10 trillion years from now, and it’s whether or not people have heard and believed your gospels. God, help us to proclaim this gospel this week. We pray that this would happen, that Jonah 3:10 would happen, that you would see people this week turning to you and you would relent from the wrath judgment they deserve, that you would pour out your mercy upon them as they repent and believe. God, please cause that to happen. Friends, this week, and coworkers and family members and cause this to happen among the Chechens of Russia. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Throughout the fall, we are following the McLean Bible Church Reading Plan. You can access the reading plan here.