“And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” What a picture. I want to kind of hone in on one word in Jonah chapter four, verse 11. God says, “Should not I pity Nineveh?”
– Jonah 4:11
What a picture of the pity of God and the contrast between God’s pity, God’s compassion, God’s love, God’s care for Nineveh and Jonah’s pity for himself.
Jonah 4:11 Should Lead Us to Question our Self-Centeredness
When you read Jonah chapter four, and you see this plant that rises up to help Jonah be comfortable, then God takes it away, and Jonah is writhing in self pity. And it just causes me to look at my life and ask the question, “In what ways am I prone to self pity instead of living in light of the pity of God? And in what ways am I prone to focus on myself and to complain about this or that in my life, and a lack of comfort specifically in this way or that way, instead of focusing on what arouses pity in the heart of God in the world around me?”
Not that God doesn’t care about the details of my life or your life. That’s part of the beauty. He does pity us. And at the same time, He has pity for people who don’t know Him, who need His grace and His mercy. It changes the way we live when we take our eyes off ourselves and we live with that kind of pity, compassion, love for others.
Jonah 4:11 Should Lead Us to Praise God for His Pity towards Mankind
Isn’t this the second greatest commandment to love others as what? As ourselves? God, we praise You for Your pity, for Your pity upon us, for the way You have saved us from our sins, for the way You’ve provided for us in our lives. We praise You for Your kindness, gentleness, mercy, compassion, love, and pity toward us. All glory be to Your name, for Your pity for us and for all people.
So God, help us to see as you see. Help us to live accordingly, to live in light of your pity, your compassion. Help us live according to your love for all people around us today. God, help us to see people in need with compassion as You have done and do every day with us. God, we pray for that right around us. We pray for that among the nations far from us. God, we pity the Abkhaz people of Turkey and Georgia and Abkhazia. I confess I didn’t even know about this disputed region in Russia, Georgia, right next to Turkey. I didn’t know about this people caught up in the middle of these different countries. And many of them, most of them, unreached by the gospel, hundreds of thousands of them.
Praying for the Abkhaz People
God, we know and we praise You for your pity for them, for the Abkhaz people, for Your pity for them in Georgia and Russia and Turkey. And God, we pray for Your salvation to spread among them. We ask for that, and we pray that You would give us hearts that reflect your heart for them and other unreached people like them, and for people right around us who we have the opportunity to reach with Your grace and Your love. All glory be to Your name for Your pity, oh God. We praise You for that reality. We praise You for Your pity in our lives even today. And we pray that You would help us to love, have compassion for, pity others as we do ourselves. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.