Word for Today – Jonah 3:9

Turn and Welcome Change

I love this part of Jonah. I once read a commentator who believes the event recorded in this section is the biggest miracle in the book – even over the more well-known fish episode. I tend to agree.

Jonah preached God’s message to the inhabitants of Ninevah. When the words reached the king, he responded. Sackcloth became the latest fashion craze, and the ashes of repentance settle over the great city. A great fast slowed the entire city as human and animal alike refrained from food and water. After telling the city they must turn from their evils ways, the mighty king ended his public degree with these words:

“Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so we do not perish” (Jonah 3:9 NRSV).

The greatest miracle is that the entire city turned from their wicked ways. Ever the gentleman, God does not force himself on man. He will put desires in our hearts, but the last step into God’s presence is mans to take. All the Ninevites took that step and repented. It was a miracle!

“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).

OK . . .I know, many people get hung up on God “changing” his mind here. How can God change his mind if he is the never-changing God? To understand this turn of events, let’s ask this question instead: Does God punish a repentant heart?

Of course he doesn’t. There may be natural consequences as a result of what we do BEFORE we repent, but forgiveness is immediate and ever-lasting. The Ninevites repented from their wicked ways, and God’s forgiveness allowed him to shower the people with grace and mercy.

He does the same for us. When we turn from (and experience heart and soul change) God will, as it says in Jonah 3:10, “change” his mind, thus ushering grace and mercy into our lives.

After turning from sin, that change doesn’t end with God. After he forgives a repentant heart, that heart also changes. Every time we truly repent we grow a little more like Christ. That’s change we can believe in.

Word for Today: When we seek God’s forgiveness we turn and welcome change.

1. When have you experienced this type of change?

2. Do you need this change today?

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This entry was posted on Sunday, October 3rd, 2010 at 3:55 pm and is filed under jonah, Word for the Day. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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