Jonah 4:2 “And he prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”
Read these words carefully. The prophet Jonah in his anger speaks what he knows to be true of God. We would think that Jonah’s appraisal of God’s character would be a pleasant thought. Many have imagined a god who thunders and roars and brings calamity with joy. Some have even worshipped such a god. The masses have rejected rulers and leaders who led by threat and fear. God warned Israel about that when they asked for a king, remember. Why take a chance on such a ruler when you can have a ruler like the one described by Jonah?
God is a judge but He is a gracious and merciful judge. If you have to go to court what kind of judge do you want to preside over your case? God is not to be fooled with but He is slow to anger. He is not a ‘one and done’ God. Why is that? It is because He is a God of Love. His actions are motivated by love. Even His punishment and correction are the result of love. To meet God when that love and graciousness have been exhausted is a fearful thing.
God relents from disaster. Even when His love and graciousness have been pushed to the limit, God will relent if the sinner will repent. Poor Jonah, he found no comfort in these words. He wanted God angry, at the limit and past the point of no return. Not for himself but for others. God forbid that we should ever want to close the door on a sinner because we find them unbearable.
Task for Today: Which God do you see in your life? Which God would you rather serve? Among the attributes mentioned by Jonah, which one do you most need today? Do you want the devil and his followers destroyed in hell or do you pray that the followers will repent and come to God for salvation. Don’t be a Jonah. Recommend God’s love to the whole world, good and bad.