“But Nineveh has more than 120,00 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city? — Jonah 4:11
Frequently God’s people expect that there will be a shield over them to protect them from the savage blows of life. Yet God’s people are as vulnerable as anyone else. Jonah does something terrible here, beyond the frightfulness of his flight from God earlier in the story when he wanted to escape rather than perform his mission for God. Here he actually sits down to wait for the destruction of the people of Nineveh.
Now the Lord is not interested in seeing people suffer. He sent the prophets and His Son so that people might turn to Him and live. Isn’t it strange that Jonah should be more interested than God in the punishment of evil doers?
The greatest miracle of the Book of Jonah is the concern of the Lord for the forgotten people of the world. Those who should have known better were sure that these people on the outside deserved only the wrath of God. Yet we learn that the Lord desired only the repentance and return of these people so they might be spared.
The love of God reached far beyond Israel. This is a foreshadowing of how that love reaches down even to us. Sheltered as we are momentarily by the love of God, may we be as concerned as God is for those about us who need His mercy. God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”(2 Peter 3:9)
God cares, do we? I remember a song I was introduced to as a teenager. It has challenged me for years. Let its words challenge you:
Do You Really Care?
I look around in the place that I live,
I see people with so much to give,
Yet there are those who are dying to know,
Just that somebody cares.
Do you really care, do you know how to share,
With people everywhere, do you really care?
Will you take the dare, spread good news everywhere,
The cross of Christ to bear, do you really care?