I would imagine that Jonah looked like a crazy man after he was spit up on dry land after being bleached and partially digested from being in a fish’s stomach for a few days. He also probably smelled like a fish.
Yet there he goes into the city of Nineveh, after being told by God a second time, warning them of the judgment of God & calling on them to repent. I would imagine it was quite the sight! Crazy bleached man spitting up water, dragging seaweed by his leg, dehydrated, warning everyone to repent for judgement is imminent.
Crazy as it might have been, it worked! The Ninevites repented & God relented the judgment & disaster. And Jonah was not happy. Look at chapter 4 verse 2. Jonah is angry with God that He spared the Ninevites! He tells God the reason he ran away in the first place was because he didn’t want to see the people of Nineveh repent!
And when you look at the cultural implications surrounding this narrative, Jonah didn’t think they were a people that deserved it. Jonah’s people were God’s people. Jonah was among the elect, not the Ninevites!
Jonah KNEW who should be saved & it wasn’t them!
But Jonah doesn’t get to say that. God does.
He gets to decide for whom repentance is available. And He is saying that it’s available to EVERYONE.
And THAT is the main point of Jonah. Salvation is available to all, even those we don’t think are qualified.
Now, in our modern church, that’s a message we see more clearly in light of Jesus & the New Testament. But we have difficulty applying it to ourselves. We think we’ve gone too far. We’ve done too much.
“We’re not worthy and God isn’t going to redeem us.”
That’s not you? You don’t think that?
Okay, how about this one . . . “That Paul in my life, they regularly hear from & are used by God, but that’s not how it works for me.” . . . or . . . “Of course they have a great marriage, they’re them. That’s not me.” . . . or . . . “Life just doesn’t come that easy for me like it does my pastor”
Again, a person we read about from the Old Testament, thousands of years removed, yet we’re not all that different.
The Abundant Life we talked about at the beginning of all this is available to you because God said that it is. You don’t get to say differently any more than Jonah got to.
But you can’t get there on your own.
You need God’s help, and you need it every day.
And the good news is, God is available to you . . . every day.
Thoughts to Journal/Pray:
- How can you create a consistent dependence on God in ALL aspects of your life? Where might you be trying to ‘do it’ on your own?
- What areas of judgment toward who is ‘qualified’ for repentance and who isn’t might be affecting how you think of God working in people’s lives? (A distorted view of how God relates to people will lead to a distorted view on how He relates to you . . . causing you to miss a lot of what He’s telling you daily)