DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-12-12
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS
BIBLE REFERENCE: Jonah 3:7-10
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
BIBLE TEXT: 7 …… A command from the king and his great rulers:
For a short time no person or animal should eat anything. No herd or flock will be allowed in the fields. Nothing living in Nineveh will eat or drink water. 8 But every person and every animal must be covered with a special cloth to show they are sad. People must cry loudly to God. Everyone must change their life and stop doing bad things. 9 Who knows? Maybe God will stop being angry and change his mind, and we will not be punished.
10 God saw what the people did. He saw that they stopped doing evil. So God changed his mind and did not do what he planned. He did not punish the people.
OBSERVATION: It may surprise us that God changes His mind about certain verdicts that He proclaims, but as we meditate on this Scripture today, let’s try to keep in mind that we serve a forgiving God, and One who knows all about the children that He created, and their decisions. He is willing to forgive, if we ask in sincerity.
APPLICATION: God’s knowledge is far greater than any man can imagine, and His understanding is beyond anything we are capable of. He knew about all that was going on in Nineveh, so He prepared the heart of Jonah for action, and for ministry at just the right moment. Jonah was so upset at all that the people of Nineveh was doing that he saw no reason why God wouldn’t destroy the whole lot of them. However, God knew that if the people were reminded of their wrongs and given a choice to divert from those wrongs and follow a better way (God’s way), that they would do it. So God chose a man who had just been redeemed from his disobedience and sin, to hear, and then give the message of God’s forgiveness to the Ninevites. We see where God’s message impacted the people and they turned from their sin, while the man who was forgiven of his sin (Jonah) struggled with God’s decision to forgive His people. God changed His mind about destroying the Ninevites, because they listened to His Word and sought forgiveness. Jonah had received forgiveness for his blatant disobedience, but couldn’t stand to see God also forgive the Ninevites. Friends, we may be more like Jonah than we care to acknowledge. After all, have you looked at an ex-prisoner with doubt about their claim to Christianity while in prison? Have you voted against restoring a pastor, or an elder to their position of honor, after almost destroying your church through a sinful act? It may be even more challenging for us to forgive a family member who came to his senses, sought God’s forgiveness, and now asking for forgiveness from his earthly family. I believe it may behoove us to remember that anyone that is forgiven by God, is actually cleared for heaven. Anyone who refuses to forgive someone redeemed by God, is actually sinning against God, because He wants us to love and get along with all of His children. What then will you do dear friend? Can you honestly forgive those whom God has forgiven, or must you work out your own vendetta against them? I’m sure you know the right answer to this quandary, so I would merely ask that you speak with God and seek His direction in helping you love everyone He loves and forgive everyone He has already forgiven.
PRAYER: As Your humble servants, please Lord, teach us to love like You do and teach us to forgive everyone that You have forgiven. It’s not our place to hold grudges and to judge the heart condition of others, but instead make every effort to love and encourage others who are battling the same trials and troubles that we face every day. Please forgive us where we fail each and every day, Lord. May others see the love of Jesus outpoured through us in every interaction with us, so that You may be glorified precious Lord. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!