If a wicked man turns away from the sins he has committed and keeps all my decrees and does what it right, he will surely live; he will not die. None of his offenses he has committed will be remembered against him. Because of the righteous things he has done, he will live.
A few things we’ve been learning from the book of Jonah…
1. Even when we are disobedient, God is with us. He stays there and provides a way for us to repent. And he can still use us when we repent and change our ways. Isaiah 43 says “When you pass through great waters, I am with you.” Micah 7:8 says, ‘For though I fall, I will rise again, though I sit in darkness the Lord will be my light’. We have this assurance through others who disobeyed God, but God still fulfilled His promises. There was Jacob, Moses, Peter, and many more. After Jonah repented, God told him again to go to Nineveh. And Jonah did!
2. God wants everyone to be saved, not just his chosen few. 1 John 1:9 says, IF we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” It doesn’t matter who or what we are, He forgives and He can use us. He places our sins in the sea of forgetfulness. There were many in the Bible, that were not Israelites, that God forgave and used for His good. To name a few … Rahab, Naaman, the Phoenecian girl, the Samaritan woman, Cornelius. After his vision from the Lord, Peter stated ” I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In EVERY nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.”
3. God can change His mind concerning our destruction, IF we are truly repentant. When the people heard that God would destroy them in 40 days, they began to repent. Even the king came down off his throne and declared a fast. He called on everyone to wear sackcloth and and fast …even the animals. Can you imagine the sound going up to the Father? a sign of true repentance. They didn’t know the God of the Israelites. They didn’t know that He is good and kind, and forgiving, but they thought it was worth a chance. And it was so, God did forgive them and gave them a second chance.
4. Complete Obedience is required. God expects us to obey with everything in us. Not out of duty. Or to receive an award. We must obey God out of love, with our whole heart. We must realize that “It’s all about Him, not ourselves”. After the repentance of the Ninevites, we see Jonah becomes angry with God. He did not want them to repent, He did not want God to forgive them, He wanted them destroyed. It’s easy to assume then, that when he obeyed God it was for his own pleasure. He had an ulterior motive. God wants us to realize that He has our best in mind, and that He will provide what is needed for us to be completely obedient. Matthew 6:33 says “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. And all these things will be added unto you!