(May 14, 2020)

Jonah 4:11And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” 

I love God’s Word. It is so deep and rich. It can continually be mined for more. Witness the small but “great” story of Jonah.

In the final scene, notice Jonah’s state: he is mad that the vine died, and he is mad that the people did not die. He is so mad that he threw a temper tantrum, yet even then the Father’s presence is sure and secure; steady and constant.

What great mercy God shows! His mercy is so great that God sent Jonah to the capital city of their enemy. His mercy is so encompassing that He cares about Jonah, the Ninevites, and even the animals. Consider the final image of Jonah that we are left with to stick in our minds: “Many cattle.” God has not lost sight even of the animals. (Makes me think of Malachi 4:2.)

Even the cattle. What visual image – or what words – could more concretely and comprehensively convey God’s Great Mercy? Everything under the sun is set before Him. God looks over the entire creation; not just humanity. His eyes are on the faithful. He watches over those who life orientation is so askew that they do not even know “their left from their right.” He cares for the cattle.

Jonah’s anger was misdirected, but God was not done with him yet. Cue Romans 8:1.

So what happens to Jonah? The story is open-ended. I believe Jonah was still growing. I believe that Jonah learned more about mercy and grace in time. I believe his anger did not last forever. If God’s love was this great for the cattle, then surely it is even bigger for Jonah, you and me.  Jonah the son of “Amittai” was still “beloved.”

Put another way, through it all, God’s faithful love will not let him go.

It is the same for us.

Heavenly Father, may we live in your love and mercy. Would You show us where are we lacking in mercy? May we heed your words: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Amen.