Our Compassionate God
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, He had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction He had threatened. Jonah 3:10
Repentance moves the heart of God. Think about that for a moment. As children of God, we have the opportunity to touch the heart of God in a profound way. If you are a parent, you have likely been deeply touched by something that your child said…something that truly revealed their love for you. It is easy to say, “I love you, too.” But there are those times when children do or say something that is uniquely “them,” something you know they are not just repeating…something that comes from the heart. These moments stick with us forever, don’t they? They are precious reminders that every parent clings to during difficult seasons.
In Jonah chapter three, God has one of those moments with the people of Nineveh. God sent Jonah to deliver horrible news to the inhabitants of this important city. In forty days, He planned to overturn Nineveh because of the sin of its people (Jonah 3:4). His anger towards them was evident…God was going to punish their sin. But then something happened that touched the very heart of God…
The people of Nineveh repented. There were three main aspects of their repentance that we can learn from today. First, they believed God. Jonah delivered the word of God to them, and on the first day they heard it, they believed that God would indeed destroy the city. Secondly, because they believed God’s message, they grieved over their sin. From the king all the way down, they fasted and wore sackcloth and ashes—a sign of deep sorrow. Lastly, they urgently called to God in repentance.
Verse 10 tells us that God “saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways.” Then something amazing happened…God had compassion on them and withheld His punishment. The word “compassion” here means, “To be sorry, moved to pity, to comfort or console.” True repentance consoles and comforts the heart of God. It soothes His righteous anger towards our sin.
It was not the words they said but the action they took that moved God to relent. Do we believe what God says about sin, like the Ninevites did? And if so, does this belief cause us to mourn and to turn from sin? Repentance that moves God is not lip service, it is turning away from sin and to God.
Father, I desire to love and serve You with all of my heart. That cannot happen when there is unconfessed sin in my life. Please convict me of my sin and give me a heart of true sorrow and repentance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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