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Jonah 4

irishman

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“And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.” (v. 2)

This seems to be the reason that Jonah did not want to go in the first place! He wanted Nineveh to fry! He, no doubt, was a bit of a “Pharisee” at least in spirit, and his self righteousness demanded attention from God. Jonah knew that there was a chance that Nineveh would repent, and suffer no harsh judgment for their evil ways, and he did not want that to happen. He definitely did not have the heart of a soul-conscience believer. Yet, how often do we hear of something in the news and wish God’s severest judgment on them? A heinous crime brings out the devil in us, it seems, and we relish in the judgment of God upon those involved. Why do we not weep for their souls? I, unfortunately, ask this of myself most of all! Though some seem so wicked and heartless, they are still a living soul, and need to be saved. That is the answer to the prOBlems of society, getting wicked men saved and doing right. It is not in legislation; it is not in the penal system, but in changing them from within, which only Jesus can do. In Nineveh we see the hope of the Gospel and the hope of the soul-winner, that the entire city would be saved.

God truly is gracious and full of mercy, but we forget that it is given to us too, as well as those very wicked men and women we would condemn. Read our text verse, and know a little more about the nature of God. He is very kind; gracious; slow to anger, and merciful. He is an Almighty, loving God, and loves the souls of the wicked in the same way that he loved us while we were yet in our sin. Our God loves sinners, rather, He loves to redeem them! God used an illustration to teach Jonah that if it were him in Nineveh, he would be happy about the warning, and about God changing His mind too. Jonah seems to care more about himself, and a silly old gourd, than he did about a multitude of souls in hell. Shame on him, and on us who know better when we find ourselves emulating Jonah in our attitudes.



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