"And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not." (Jonah 3:10)
Yesterday, we read about how a nation turned to God. We saw how Jonah went through a series of circumstances in his life that impacted him. God, in his wisdom, manipulated those circumstances in his favor to "break" Jonah's will. In spite of this, he, still, had free will to choose. I believe that when he was in the belly of the whale, that was Jonah's last chance to say yes to God. Yes, God is merciful and full of grace, but there comes a time when grace ends and judgement comes. Jonah's decision in the belly of the whale was a death or life choice.
Perhaps many reading this are saying "NO" to a calling of God in your life. It may be something as simple as telling your neighbor about Jesus. Whatever it is, don't harden your heart. It may not cause you to die, but a hardened heart will, eventually, stop hearing from God. When this happens, wrong choices will be made and you can be in the wrong place at the wrong tiime! In this day, take some time to examine your heart. Keep the flow of the Holy Spirit in your life and harden not your heart.
It is interesting that in the midst of testings and trials, God will dredge up what is in our hearts. When Jonah was persuaded to obey God, he preached God's message. It was a hard message, but God looked out for his prophet. It is my personal belief that when he got out of the belly's whale, he had lost his hair and was bald. As he obeyed and preached, God used this unfortunate incident to calll the people's attention. Can you imagine their reaction---"We are getting invaded by aliens!"
Yes, this was an invasion, a holy invasion and God was the mastermind. I believe that while Jonah preached, God was healing him on the spot which caused them to fear and experience the power of God. Friends, we may be called to preach a hard message, but let's not forget God's power in demostration! It is interesting that when the people repented, Jonah's true motive for not obeying is revealed. Look at the following verse----
" But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live." (Jonah 4:1-3)
Notice that Jonah did forsake his calling for the following--He knew that God was a gracious God, merciful and slow to anger. In effect, he was expecting judgement. Why did he hate the Ninevites? Perhaps since they were a violent people, he remembered what they did to his nation and even to his family. (II Kings 19:36) Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. Assyria was the nation that oppressed Israel as a result of God's judgement. (II Kings 17:22-24)
So. you can see why Jonah acted this way. The question I want to ask is this---If there was hope for Nineveh, can there be hope for the United States? In my next devotional, I will address this subject. God bless.