Pity the City

Today it is VERY windy here in Utah. I can hear the wind outside brewing and tumbling. It is reminding me of the story of Jonah the prophet.

In the book of Jonah, God appoints a great fish to swallow Jonah, a plant to grow to offer shade for Jonah, the worm to eat the plant, and the east winds to blow causing Jonah to be in the scalding heat. God used these things to bring Jonah to his senses, because Jonah was acting merciless toward the Nin’evite people. He didn’t even want them to repent from their wicked ways, because he knew God would be gracious to them.

God had told him to go and tell the people in Nin’eveh to change their ways and to start living for God and Jonah didn’t want to go because he didn’t have mercy on them.

“But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life” (Jonah 4:1-3).

We can easily be like Jonah and not have mercy. We can get sick of dealing with people or think someone is too far off for God to reach. Maybe we get tired of them repeating the same mistakes in their life. We want them to wallow in their misery. But, God tells us that mercy triumphs over judgement. We are called to be merciful.

God appointed things to shake Jonah out of his merciless anger toward the Nin’evites. Jonah had no pity for the city but, God loves ALL people. How dare Jonah care more about a plant than a city of thousands when God saved him. We need to remember to have compassion on those in our lives because after all, God saved us.

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