Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Who knows if God might change his mind and not give us what we deserve for our disobedience? That's what the king of Nineveh was asking in Jonah 3:9. The prophet Jonah had been confronting sin in Nineveh. The threat was serious. Your sin deserves destruction and God is ready to take care of that.
What was the problem in Nineveh in the first place? Their sins had been crying out to God. All our unrighteousness harms us and our neighbors. We can't think God would miss noticing it. Injustice calls out to God, the just judge of all. In the case of Nineveh, he was ready to let justice be served. This would mean the destruction of the city.
What would God say about our corruption? In recent years I've had many occasions to face those who are acting unjustly, some of whom are sorry for their actions, some of whom are sorry they were caught, some of whom are hoping they never get caught and are not sorry at all. All this injustice cries out to God. He hears and knows it all.
The New Testament presents two essential ways in which sin is dealt with. In the end, the sinner receives the just penalty for his actions, or the sinner calls out to God in sorrow and repentance, then sees that Jesus has received the penalty in place of the individual sinner.
What's the answer to the king of Nineveh? God has mercy on sinners who confess they have done wrong and ask for his mercy. He is the Lord of forgiveness and grace. While this was a disappointment to Jonah, he had expected God to act in exactly that way. May we have grace not only to expect God's merciful care for others, but to rejoice in it.
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