The Biblical book of Jonah would be hilarious if it wasn’t so sad. It begins with Jonah’s sinful heart. He brazenly rebelled against his God. God told him to go to Nineveh to preach about impending judgment and Jonah went the opposite direction.
So, Jonah received judgment in the second chapter and then grace and forgiveness when he repented.
Get that point. It’s very important. “Jonah was the object of God’s mercy and grace and forgiveness. All the good stuff from God … Jonah got it when he repented.”
Yet, as Jonah preached to the citizens of Nineveh, they repented, too! What does God do? The same thing He did for Jonah … He lavished His mercy and grace and forgiveness upon the Ninevites. All the good stuff from God … Nineveh got it when they repented.
Second verse, same as the first.
How does Jonah respond when he sees that God is not going to destroy Nineveh?
Jonah 4:2 (New Living Translation)
“So he complained to the LORD about it: ‘Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.'”
Let us be so careful not to fall into this mindset … we readily receive the Lord’s forgiveness and grace for our personal offenses and yet resent it when He does the same for others.
Let the true followers of Jesus develop a heart like Jesus’ … one that would much more readily desire repentance and restoration than discipline and judgment.