Jonah

“The Prophet and the Missionary”
The story of Jonah is deservedly famous, but unfortunately many readers are satisfied with his adventure with the large fish, and never go on to ponder the very dramatic conclusion.
Like you, Jonah was called to a mission. Unlike you, he tried to get out of it. Eventually, though, under extreme pressure, he came around. He obeyed God by going to Nineveh and proclaiming God’s message. He warned them that the great city would suffer judgment for their unjust behavior.
What happened next? The Ninevites heard God’s message and turned their behavior around. They stopped doing evil and using violence. God saw it and forgave them. He chose not to punish them after all.
For this, Jonah was angry at God. Probably he or members of his family had suffered from the Ninevite violence. He hated the Ninevites and he thought no punishment was enough. If God was not going to kill them all, Jonah would rather die!
Jonah was concerned with justice. He felt it in his bones. But his version of justice was punitive and negative. God, however, had a version of justice that abounded in love and forgiveness. He was eager for everyone to flourish—even the vicious Ninevites.
When you encounter injustice, anger is a natural and a healthy response. However, God wants us to join him in seeking out the smallest hint of true repentance. He is eager to forgive and quick to hope—as we should be too. The ultimate justice is not punishment, but a world truly set right.
Prayer: Lord, give us a vision of your justice that shines with hopefulness. We know you want to redeem all people—even those who are terribly wicked. Show us how to hate evil but to rejoice when a single sinner repents.

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