In concluding chapter 4 in the Book of Jonah, let’s review a bit from the previous blog. After Nineveh’s repentance, Jonah became very angry; he thought that God had acted unjustly towards the sinners of the city by showing them compassion! In fact, his anger over God’s grace brought him to place of great shame, and he wanted to die. What we see through our own eyes is very different from what God sees through His eyes. (Isaiah 55:8) In fact, He is a “gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.” (Exodus 34:5-6)
Often times, we take matters into our own hands; we get angry with those around us, and we even ask for God’s justice to be done to them, often forgetting that His justice is very different from ours. But in our quick response towards anger, we also lose sight of this important truth:
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Tim 2:1-4
God’s desire for those who follow Him is to pray for all men, as His desire is for all men to be saved. Yes, even our enemies and those who persecute us (Matt 5:43-48), as He desires us to be holy, just as He is holy.
I often think that if Rav Sha’ul (Apostle Paul) were alive today, before he had his life-changing encounter with Yeshua, we would hate him! Our desire would be for God to punish him and bring him to justice for his evil acts towards the believers. However, once God touched him, he became a changed man, and today, all of God’s followers look to his example in how to live our lives. I don’t know about you, but I’m very thankful for God’s compassion to Sha’ul…and to me, for I deserved His wrath, but now live in the fullness of His grace because of His Son.
Let us keep at the forefront of our minds that God’s heart is for the lost to know Him and love Him through His Son, Yeshua. His compassion is far more compelling than His wrath, and we can live in that fullness each day.
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