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Daily Devotionals

Day 42 – Issue 40

todayMay 1, 2015 10

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Be Still Know

Jonah 3.10 and 4.1 NLT

‘When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened. This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry.’

So far as Jonah was concerned it was bad enough to have to go to Nineveh at all, with its terrible reputation for sin. But at least he was given the responsibility for sharing a message of God’s judgement upon them. They certainly deserved it. But the result
of his preaching was not what he had expected. To his great surprise the people repented and, in consequence, God changed his mind about destroying the people. This was all too much for Jonah who became extremely angry with God. These evil people needed, in Jonah’s view, to be blasted off the planet and not to be offered forgiveness. Jonah reflected that he ought to have remembered that God was “a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” (Jonah 4.2)

Jonah’s reaction helps us to reflect upon the mystery of God’s grace. We meet God’s grace in a very powerful way as Jesus hung on the cross. To the thief who hung beside him he said, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23.43). No doubt most people who looked at the thief considered that what was happening was entirely just. He had done wrong and was now paying the price for it. Indeed, he himself recognised that he deserved to die for his crimes. But in the closing moments of his earthly life he was offered the gift of forgiveness. Justice proclaimed that he deserved his punishment but grace spoke another language. And that’s precisely what Jonah struggled to cope with. Given the famed sinfulness of Nineveh he was looking for God to do the right thing and condemn them. He wanted God to be angry with them and punish them for their waywardness but, instead of that, God reached out to them with compassion and love, and freely gave them his forgiveness.

As you go around today, I encourage you to look at people with God’s eyes of grace. Whoever you meet you can be sure that they have all fallen short of God’s glory. They are sinners, just like you and me. But God looks at all of us with grace and longs to set us free.

Question: How do you cope with God forgiving people who have lived evil lives?

Prayer: Lord God, I thank you for your amazing grace which is able to save a wretch like me. Amen

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Written by: Matt Weet

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