Daily Thoughts : October 19th
Jonah 4:2 That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity
This is quite an amazing and at the same time funny piece of Scripture. This is Jonah moaning to God. He's been to Ninevah and the city has been saved. He spoke God's word, they repented and God withheld His judgement. There you are, says Jonah, I knew you wouldn't judge them because you are gracious and compassionate.
The amazing bit of this is that Jonah knew that these characteristics matched God, that He was indeed gracious and compassionate and that He was slow to anger and abounding in love. Perhaps Jonah knew Numbers 14:18, “The LORD is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.” That was the early understanding of the Lord. Yet Jonah doesn't seem to remember the verse that immediately followed on: “Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.”
These are the two aspects of God that we always need to hold in balance. God will punish unrepentant sinners (and the word ‘unrepentant' is key here) but the moment they turn to Him, His love and compassion and forgiveness are revealed. The Lord wants to bring His love and blessing to bear on people, but while they insist on rebelling and turning from Him, that is not possible. Make sure you always hold both these truths.
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