On June 29th, Nairobi Gratia church had a Sunday service and they mediated on Jonah 4. Pastor Thomas shared the story of Jonah and explained how God patiently waits for the sinners coming back so as we are saved by this grace, we also need to have a loving heart toward the people in the world and try to save them.
Jonah was called by God to deliver the message of judgment to Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria, the enemy country. Jonah didn’t like to do it because he didn’t live the sinners in the city. So he was going to the opposite way toward Tarshish, a prosperous city. But on the way, the boat he took was in a great storm and almost broke up, so the people were wondering and prayed to their God. Jonah explained that it was because of his sin against God that God was punishing him. Jonah wanted to be thrown into the water to help the people in the boat from a shipwreck. After that, God rescued Jonah by a big fish that swallowed him up and he was in it for 3 days. Jonah praised and prayed to God and he repented his sin of disobedience. The fish vomited him onto dry land.
Jonah after that went to the Nineveh and delivered the message of God that God would punish them in 40 days because of their sins. People in Nineveh listening to the message started to repent and God changed His plan to punish them. Jonah again was very angry with the decision of God so he complained to God. At that time God made a good shadow with a plant for Jonah, he was happy and enjoyed under it, but as it was withered on the next day, Jonah was so disappointed and he complained to God saying that he wanted to die. It is like the image of Israelites who were complaining again and again in the desert.
God counseled him saying that “If you concern the plant you never took care of, how much more I should concern the city with a lot of people and animals which I’ve taken care of?”
God is concerning the people in the world and waiting for them to come back to Him in patience. (2 Peter 3:9). God’s love is unconditional(Matthew 5:45) and “Slow to anger and abound in love” as Jonah knew. So we also need to broaden our hearts and understand God’s heart toward us and this world.
Lastly in Joshua 5:13-15, Joshua met a commander of the heavenly army and he asked “Are you for us or for the enemy?”, but the commander answered “Neither, I came from God. I’m for God.” This means the center of the commander was God. God should be the center and the standard.
In the life of faith, we may pray that “God, you should listen to this prayer because this is important.” but we need to think differently, “God, is this your will?” or “What is your will?” so that God can be our center and master.
We could see today that God’s love is for all the people, so we can learn this love of God, the heart of God toward the sinners in the world, and follow God’s Will to save them.