Mercy of God

So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm." -Jonah 4:2

Jonah is the best known of the Minor Prophets, probably due to the big fish story. However, the point of the book is not the big fish, but the small-hearted prophet. Jonah was a prophet sent to preach to a Gentile nation – but he ran away! Why?

Believe it or not, Jonah ran away from God’s call because he knew what the God of Israel was really like! If he went and preached to those heathen Gentiles, God might save them! And they were the enemy!

After a second chance, Jonah reluctantly went. Sure enough, Nineveh repented, and God relented. Jonah was angry about this. “Should not I pity Nineveh, that great city?” asked God (Jon. 4:11). God loved even idolatrous city-dwelling Ninevites.

We may know God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness (Jon. 4:2), but are we reflecting His heart toward the hated and violent “Ninevites” in our communities? Are we answering His call to go to them and preach His word of repentance and forgiveness?