I love the story of Jonah. I was talking to somebody about Jonah the other day and I made the comment that it's odd because it doesn't have a happy ending. Jonah is miserable at the end because God doesn't behave in the way he expected. But as I was reading today, I realized it has an incredibly happy ending and how could I have overlooked it? The happy ending is that a huge city full of evil people turn to God in repentance! This story is not about Jonah. It's about God's love and forgiveness. Jonah is just the hesitant messenger of this gospel.

Before we get too tough on Jonah, consider the following:
  • Nineveh was an Assyrian city. The Assyrians were a brutal, evil nation that had attacked Israel on several occasions. They were notorious for the brutal methods of attack. Often they would surround a city and wait for the food in the city to run out and for the inhabitants of that city to either surrender or turn on each other in cannibalism. When they would attack the city, many of their soldiers carried these large hooks that they would use to rip open the wombs of pregnant women and kill the unborn children along with the mother. They were literally pagan savages.
  • Jonah likely had ancestors who had been brutalized by these people.
  • Nineveh is actually the modern day city of Mosul, Iraq. How many of us, if called to share the gospel in Iraq, might book a trip in the opposite direction?
Jonah is a reminder to us that God's love has always been for ALL nations. Jonah's disappointment that God forgave them instead of wiping them out, shows Jonah's hatred and racism towards these people. It's important to remember that members of God's Kingdom have only one enemy...Satan! No person on earth is our enemy. Even our geo-political enemies should be viewed as potential Kingdom members.

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