A Job (At Last) Well Done?
Good Lord, I marvel at the many facets and great richness of Your Word. Show me more today, I pray.
Read Jonah 3:1-10
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Let the wicked forsake his way … Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon” (Isa. 55:7). What a promise! What a God!
The story of Jonah’s mission trip is told remarkably briefly: God reconfirmed his calling; Jonah went; he delivered the message of God’s judgment; the people listened and repented; God showed mercy. All in all, it can be seen as a very successful venture. Chapter 4 points us to the real reason for the inclusion of this information, but at this point the writer leaves us to draw our own conclusion. Are we to emphasize the fact that God gives us second chances? We certainly see this in his treatment of Jonah and of Nineveh.
Jonah had failed God, turned down the job he had been given without even providing proper notice! It would not have been unreasonable for God to have chosen someone else to work for him, but God does not write us off because of failure. Jonah was sorry for his previous actions and therefore God used him again, even though we know that Jonah’s heart was still not in the job. He does it only because he wants to be obedient to God. Are we tempted to write off others or ourselves because they or we have failed before? Do I have the strength of character to take up a task I’ve already run from because I know it is God’s way forward–even when it is certainly not mine? Jonah did, and we can perhaps see why God took so much trouble with him!
The Ninevites were about as corrupt as they could be. God’s judgment on them was fair; their destruction would have been just. For them, however, failure–even to this extent–was not necessarily the end. They “turned from their evil ways” (10) and God in his great mercy gave wicked Nineveh a second chance.
When has God given You a second chance? To be or do what? To witness where? Have you ever ignored a second chance from God?
Lord, forgive me for the times I’ve failed to follow Your instructions. Help me to take advantage of the second chances that You graciously provide.
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