Hi everyone! Thanks for coming back for Day 3 of this series, I am like Jonah – are you? Yesterday we learned so much about what Jonah did in the belly of the fish, and now we will read what Jonah does when God is so gracious to spare his life once again. If you didn’t get a chance to do Day 1 yet, go here. You can go to Day 2 here to catch up and then come back and join us 🙂
We are on Day 3 / Lesson 3 / Chapter 3
Open your Bible to Jonah 3 and read it for yourself or you can click online HERE and then come right back. The very last verse in Jonah 2 states, “Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.” So, now he is near Nineveh, let’s find out what Jonah does next.
During this chapter study I began to wonder what Jonah’s name represented. When I looked up the meaning of Jonah’s name it means dove (like the bird). Then I instantly thought of Noah and the ark. Noah sent out a dove to be the messenger and rescuer of them to see if there was any land. The dove brought back the first sign of life. The dove was a messenger. It was a message that salvation had come and not give up hope.
God was using Jonah to be the dove or messenger for Nineveh. Nineveh was a terribly evil city but Jonah was called from the Lord above to be the mouthpiece of God.
Once Jonah traveled to the huge city of Nineveh he told them all what God said,
“Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!”Jonah 3:4b
What happened next?
Did the people of Nineveh throw stones at him or try to kill Jonah?
No, not at all!
Amazing things happened in that moment! The people repented. The king repented and turned to God (see Jonah 3:8). He sent out messages and decrees that the entire country needed to go on a fast and mourn for their sins. The king was very serious about the situation. He desired for his country to live, so he told everyone to abide by these declarations with hope that God might withhold His judgement. The king was not guaranteed it would happen, but he still was doing his best to lead his people to righteousness.
What did God do when he saw the people of Nineveh repentant and sorrowful for their evil ways?
“When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.” Jonah 3:10
God is so gracious, merciful and forgiving. He loves each and every one of us! He desires for NONE to perish not even Nineveh, not even the mass murderer on death row. That is so hard for many of us to grasp, but GOD cherishes all of humanity so dearly. He even loves the men who abused me. And since I have had time to heal (it has been an 11 year journey of allowing God to get to the deep-rooted pain from the abuse) I have begun to see my abusers as Christ sees them – with love. I have forgiven each and every one of them. If God can be gracious and merciful to me, than can’t I do the same? Yes, it takes time, but I knew I wanted to forgive them.
I did not want what they did to me to define me. Jesus defines me, not them.
I have been able to pray for each man and send two of them letters sharing that I have forgiven them by God’s strength. I told them God loved them and I desired them to be right in God’s eyes and to seek forgiveness from the Lord Almighty.
We each need to deal with people in our lives who have unjustly hurt us. Maybe it isn’t a person who abused you. Maybe it’s an ex-boyfriend, or ex-husband or a friend that hurt you deeply. Maybe it’s your mom or dad. Maybe it’s a church. Maybe it’s your adult children. Maybe someone stole something from you that could never be given back. Dear friend, God can still heal you and redeem what they did! I understand that completely, my innocence was stolen. My life was and is forever changed because they stole something that was so precious that I can never ever get back. But they don’t get the last say unless I allow them. I am no longer a victim of my circumstance, I am a victor of it through Jesus Christ!
God can and will redeem any of your past, no matter how broken or ugly it is! Maybe you even need to forgive yourself for all the mistakes you have made. If God can forgive you, than you can forgive yourself and heal from the pain they caused in your life. No matter who it is we need to forgive, let us do the hard thing, because God will bless us spiritually for doing so. And let us not forget what we do affects others around us. When God shows mercy on us and we give mercy to others it will be a ripple effect to those around you. Forgive quickly and forgive often my friends.
What about you dear friend?
Are you struggling with forgiving some today? If so, pray in this very moment and ask to the Lord give you the words and strength to do so.
Let us be like the Lord and forgive others who have sinned against us.
See you again tomorrow when we study Chapter 4 and we will read how Jonah reacts to God’s compassion towards Nineveh.
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