Jonah 1:1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me”
Why Nineveh ?
Nineveh was a powerful and wicked city, the people of Nineveh were known for their cruelty. It is believed that their brutal war campaigns prompted their enemies to commit mass suicide. They were considered to be a bullying nation and just about anybody hated them. But God looked at them as people who have a skewed compass, for they did not know the difference between right and wrong. God wanted the people of Nineveh to be recipients of His mercy. He wanted them to obtain his grace and favor rather than His wrath.
Jonah 4:2 Jonah prayed to the Lord “O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? This is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish, I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity….”
Why Jonah ?
God needed someone to take his message to the people of Nineveh. God had a lot of options, He could have appeared in a vision to the King of Nineveh, or he could raise himself a prophet among those people, but He did not do so. He chose Jonah instead, someone who hated the people of Nineveh. Jonah took offense to God’s love for the people of Nineveh; he would have said a resounding “Amen” if God had poured his wrath on Nineveh. However God wanted to reveal His heart for the lost to Jonah.
God who was sensitive to the needs of Nineveh was also sensitive to the needs of Jonah. God saw Nineveh’s need as no greater than the need of Jonah. God did not ignore Jonah in the light of a bigger global need of the people of Nineveh.
What’s in here for me ?
When Jesus was teaching people of the Kingdom of God, there were some children in the crowd that took liberty with Jesus. Some of them sat around Jesus with colors pencils, some dropped juice on His garment and others fell asleep in His lap. The disciples considered this a distraction. How could these mere children interrupt the master in the light of a greater need that of conveying the matters of God? they reasoned. They stopped the parents them from bringing the children to Jesus. What did Jesus do? He told the disciples in no uncertain terms “Don’t stop the favor I wish to extend”. In a hurry to attend Church or Bible Study, we so often ignore the house maid, the little children who play tricks by street corners, the office boy who brings in coffee and the security guard who greets us at work.
Prayer : Lord, impress upon my heart that you are people oriented. Your global need to reach the nations does not stop you from reaching people. You have been gracious enough to reach me and for that I give you thanks. In Jesus' name I ask Amen.
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