Many of you probably know the story of Jonah, but, in case you don’t, here is the T-Swift inspired recap: God was like “Hey, Jonah go to Nineveh because the people there are sinning and you need to tell them about me.” and Jonah was like that doesn’t sound very “Safe and Sound” so he got on a boat going the opposite direction and God was like “Tell Me Why” and so God sent a storm and, long story short, Jonah got briefly swallowed by a whale that did a 180 and took Jonah back to the original Nineveh plan (and God was like, “Forreal, bro? A whale? Look What You Made Me Do…) Anyway, point is Jonah listened this time and was like, “Hey, Ninevites, Why you gotta be so mean? And a liar? And pathetic? And mean?” then he was like “You’ve got a blank space, baby, and you should write God’s name.” And the Ninevites were eventually like, “you right. that was “The Last Time” and now “Everything Has Changed.” Which brings us to the verse behind today’s devotional….
6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.”
In this story God shows His never-ending love for all of His people. Due to the presence of sin in the lives of the Ninevites, they were separated from God. Instead of being filled with His divine life, they were consumed with things that were chipping away at their spirit. But, as we know, God is forgiving. He did not hesitate to show compassion when the people confessed and repented of their sins, but I think this aspect is key. Though sometimes our relationship with sin is a little bit on-again, off-again, repentance means that we look at our sins and actively strive to end them. And the Ninevites did not take God’s grace lightly – once they understood the consequences of their sin, they immediately did everything in their power to end their mistakes for good and rebuild their relationship with the Lord. This story challenged me to examine my own life – to what sins do I often say “I hate you” and “break up” and then the next day I love them again? How, in my life, do I take God’s grace for granted? Mistakes happen, but this week, as I realize and ask forgiveness for my sins, I’m praying that that that sin and I are never getting back together — like ever.