I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Jonah 4:2
When most people read or talk about the book of Jonah the thing that makes such a big splash (pun intended) is the story about Jonah being swallowed by the whale. If it weren’t for fact that this story really is in the Bible, I admit it would be hard to believe, but yet the story is true. But, what recently jumped off the page at me and almost knocked me overboard (pun intended again) isn’t the part about the whale, but instead it’s found in the second part of Jonah 4:2. We can read from Johan’s conversation with the Lord which says; “I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.”
It’s easy to see from this verse that the reason Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh wasn’t because he was shy, didn’t like crowds, or had too many things already on his schedule. No, the truth is that Jonah simply did not like the Ninevites, and he didn’t want see them to have any opportunity to repent, but instead he preferred to see them destroyed.
In Jonah’s expressed frustration to God we see that Jonah knew something about the Lord that many of us fail to see, and that is that God’s heart. This story reveals that His heart’s first priority is to always be merciful, kind, gracious, full of love and quick to forgive and restore. Maybe today you have a mischaracterized view of God and see Him as some kind of hard taskmaster that can never be pleased and is always grumpy with a scouring look always ready to punish you and me. Well, if that’s how you see Him, then He wants you to change your perspective of Him and see Him for who He really is, His true heart, and that is of a Heavenly Father that’s always full of love, grace and mercy towards us.
Today, let’s be remined that our Heavenly Father is always for us, merciful and full of compassion!