ONE HEART TO ANOTHER
My God, I seek Your face today.
Read Jonah 3
Jonah Goes to Nineveh
3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
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.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does God’s heart truly seek from His world? How does your relationship with Him reflect this?
Fresh from his rescue and renewed enthusiasm for God, Jonah obeys God, going directly to Nineveh. He completes God’s task diligently (3–5). Astonishingly the Ninevites believe God’s message of destruction. They jump to action, fasting and donning sackcloth to the last creature. The king urges people to change their evil ways (7, 9) only that they might escape God’s “fierce anger.”
Jonah and Nineveh are both obedient to God, but they fail to understand His heart. Jonah’s anger (4:1) defies God’s compassion towards Nineveh. Nineveh displayed initial outward signs of repentance; graciously God relented, but their hearts remained hard (Nahum 3:1–3). I know when my family “help” out of duty, compared to when their hearts are enthused. The former leaves me feeling isolated and resented, the latter like “we are in this together.” God seeks more than dutiful obedience.
His purpose is to transform us into His own likeness, that we might share His heart of mercy and compassion for all people. God seeks an ongoing interactive dance of invitation, response; repentance, forgiveness; challenge, grace, and love… which form a relationship of deep purpose. Does that overwhelm you? That God desires a mature relationship with us? Praise God!
What would it look like for you to share more of your heart with God? Is it easy to tell God how you really feel? Take time to have a heart-to-heart conversation to God.
God, You know everything about me. Make my heart like Yours.