The Ninevites believed God . . . 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.
The prophet Jonah preached in Israel when many were living wicked lives and worshipping false gods. Jonah called the people to come back to the Lord, but they refused. He even warned that if they didn’t end their wicked ways, the Lord would send the Assyrian army to conquer them.
And then one day, the Lord told Jonah, “Go to Nineveh and preach to the people there.” Nineveh was the capital of Assyria! God wanted Jonah to preach to Israel’s enemy to call them to turn from their wickedness and serve the Lord.
Jonah didn’t want to do what God commanded. He was afraid that the Ninevites would believe him and turn from their sins and that God would have mercy on them. He didn’t want God to have mercy on Israel’s enemy. He wanted God to punish them for their sins and for being the enemy of his people. But it didn’t happen. Instead, just as Jonah feared, the Ninevites listened to his warning, turned from their sins, and were saved. God was merciful to them.
Like Jonah, it is easy for us to think that some people are not worthy of God’s mercy. The truth is—no one is worthy of God’s mercy. The fact that we are not worthy is precisely why God needs to be merciful. And, thankfully, he is. Through the soul-saving life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, God promises us forgiveness and eternal life with him.
What remarkable mercy God showed the Ninevites. What remarkable mercy he has shown us!
God, I praise you for your boundless mercy. Amen.
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