The story of Jonah is an well-known one. Jonah was called by God to preach to Nineveh and bring them to repentance. Jonah disobeyed God and ran away. But God engineered it such that Jonah ended up in the belly of the fish, and was sent to Nineveh where he preached and the people repented. The story is often told from Jonah’s point of view. But if we look at it from the perspective of the people of Nineveh, the beauty of God’s mercy and love is all the more evident.

God tells us that Nineveh was a city in which there was much sin and wrong doing.

“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” Jonah 1:1

But instead of condemning that city, God sent Jonah to preach to them, that they may repent.

“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” Jonah 3:1

Now, we need to understand that the destruction to which Jonah was referring when He said,

“…“Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”” Jonah 3:4

was not the result of God’s vengeance on the people. God was not out to get them. Sin, in any form, needs to be punished. If not, God would not be perfectly righteous if He allowed sin to go unpunished. So the destruction that Jonah was speaking of was brought about by Nineveh’s own sin.

And instead of wanting their destruction, God was giving them a way out, so that destruction would not befall them. For it is written that,

“Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” Jonah 3:10

When the people repented and turned from their evil ways, that was enough to satisfy God’s righteous anger because firstly, that was all God really wanted, for His creation to live a life that was right with Him and turn from evil; and secondly, because God knew that Jesus would come into the world to die for the sins of all man, including those in Nineveh at the time, thereby making them who believed on Him, righteous in the sight of God. Essentially, God knew that He had everything taken care of. He just wanted the people to turn away from evil.

But what is even more beautiful than God’s forgiveness towards Nineveh, was His unrelenting pursuit to have His gift of forgiveness preached to them. When He called Jonah, we all know Jonah ran.

“But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:3

“But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.” Jonah 1:4

And when the sailors were at their wits end, and found out why the storm was happening,

“Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.
And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.” Jonah 1:10-12

God, knowing that Jonah had run, and knowing that the sailors were superstitious men; used the storm to firstly, find Jonah out; and secondly, display His awesome power for the sailors’ benefit. For it is written that at the end of the episode,

“Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.” Jonah 1:16

So not only did God direct Jonah into the direction He wanted him to go, He gained for Himself, even more souls saved.

And in the same way that God did not give up on Nineveh, God did not give up on Jonah. Even though Jonah ran, God still found ways and means to give Jonah a chance to change his mind. And in the same way, God is not about to give up on you. God is a God of many chances and regardless of your situation; God is reaching out to you, giving you a chance to reach back to Him. My friend, it does not matter if you had rejected God’s call many years ago, or if you have wandered away from His presence. He is calling out to you today, relentlessly, just as He was calling out to Nineveh.

My friend, in the way that God never wanted to destroy Nineveh, He also does not wish that any harm befalls you. In fact, He wishes to protect you and keep you safe. Even Jonah acknowledges this.

“…for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” Jonah 4:2

Indeed, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

God does not wish harm to befall you. But just like the worm that destroyed the plant that God made grow for Jonah’s shade Jonah 4:6-7, sin entered the world and caused its decay.

“…through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned -” Romans 5:12

But my friend, God has already paid the ultimate price for our sins by sacrificing His Son Jesus for us. A Holy God, came down as a Holy man.

“He knew no sin.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“He did no sin.” 1 Peter 2:22

“In Him was no sin.” 1 John 3:5

“And God the Father made Him to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

As the prophet Isaiah says,

“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy].
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” Isaiah 53:4-5 [AMPC]

Jesus did this for us so that we can consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

My friend, Jesus is unrelenting in wanting to make this gift of salvation and reconciliation between you and God, freely available to you. If you would like to receive this gift, say this prayer with me now.

“Heavenly Father, I repent of all my wickedness and sin. I acknowledge that my life thus far has been less than pleasing to You. And that is why Father, I thank You that in Your infinite kindness You were willing to send Jesus, Your only begotten Son, to die on the cross for me, bearing my sin and my shame, so that I can have perfect reconciliation with You. Thank You for being unrelenting in hunting me down and now that I have received Your gift of salvation, I know that Your love, protection and provision will hunt me down and surround me all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

Beloved child of God, Jesus’ love for you is unrelenting. Let His love overwhelm you and watch your life transform, just as they did so long ago in Nineveh.

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