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Jonah: A Lesson in Compassion

December 5, 2012 • Rev. Deb Koster


I marvel at God’s great love for his people, that he desires for them to come to faith and to be restored to him. You can hear God’s heart breaking with compassion for the people of Nineveh, even though they had lived in sinful disobedience to him. You hear God’s heart for the people as he pleads with Jonah, “Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

Jonah describes God as gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Jonah had it right--these things are all true. But Jonah does not want this to be the way God responds to his enemies. Jonah wants God to be loving and compassionate only with his people. Don't we also carry some of that same self-centeredness in our thinking? Don't we want others to think and act just like we do in order to be a part of the Christian community? Thankfully God’s love surpasses all of the barriers we might establish. God’s love is bigger than our limited tribalism.

God’s love accomplishes its mission. God used Jonah’s reluctant compliance to save the souls of 120,000 people in Nineveh. God accomplishes his purpose of saving Nineveh through Jonah and in spite of Jonah. God did not let Jonah’s defiance deter his passion for the people of Nineveh.  How often does God have to work in spite of us because we are too stubborn to work with him? It is so easy to get distracted with our own agenda and lose track of following God’s bigger plan. Are we grateful for a God who pursues us even when we struggle to see his plan?

God is so compassionate to his people! He loves them even in their defiance, and he is passionate about sending the gospel message to them so that none of them would perish. Sound familiar? He is that passionate for our salvation too. Do you wonder what could God accomplish through your life if you let him truly take charge of it? Are you willing to be used by God?


Lord, Thank you for loving us so completely. We just marvel at how deep your love for us goes. Help us to reflect that love to those around us through Jesus who showed us perfect love, In his name, Amen.


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