In His Word
"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." – Psalm 119:105

Jonah – “who relents concerning calamity”

3Wed - prophets

The book of Jonah describes God as “one who relents concerning calamity.”  He proved it on three occasions.  The first was when He saved the sailors (ch 1).  “The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea” that created their calamity (:4-7).  Jonah told them to throw him overboard to restore calm and keep from perishing, and after calling on the Lord they did – at which time “the sea stopped its raging.” (:8-15).

Jonah’s calamity went from bad to worse.  Instead of calamity on the sea, he now faced it in the sea (ch 2).  “Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, weeds were wrapped around my head.” (:5).  “I called out of my distress to the LORD, and He answered me” (:2) – by sending the great fish to swallow him.

The people of Ninevah faced a calamity of their own: “Yet forty days and Ninevah will be overthrown” (3:4).  When the people believed in God and repented, “God relented concerning the calamity…” (:5-10).

The Hebrew word translated here “relent” is most often translated “comfort.”  God would rather comfort people than destroy them, for He is a God of compassion (4:11).  Jonah was fine with God comforting him, but he didn’t feel the same about Him comforting the Ninevites.  He wanted them to be destroyed, even when they were willing to repent.  How often are we like Jonah?  We want the terrible sinners in the world to be destroyed, not saved – even though we deserve no better than death ourselves.  We would rather not even give them the opportunity to repent and be comforted by God.  If we are going to claim to serve “a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity” (4:2), then we had better learn to be more like Him.

Have a great day in His word!


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