Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. (Isaiah 5:20, NIV 1984).
The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” (Jonah 1:1–2, NIV 1984).
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, NIV 1984).
Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:11, NIV 1984).
My Musings – How many legs does a dog have if you call his tail a leg? Four. Saying that a tail is a leg doesn’t make it a leg. (Abraham Lincoln). We live in a culture where an increasing number of people “cannot tell their right hand from their left. Who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Who count a tail as a leg.
But there is still hope. Nineveh turned from its evil ways and judgement was forestalled for a season. Because our God is “a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” (Jonah 4:2, NIV 1984). This could still be in the cards for our generation, a “postponement” of the coming “day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” Because God “is patient with [us], not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:7–9, NIV 1984).
My Advice – My fear is that many of us are like Jonah. Losing patience and perhaps wanting God’s fierce judgement on the unrighteous of this age. Disappointed and angry if it does not come. But “have [we] any right to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4, NIV 1984). Should we not rather be like our God, “gracious and compassionate…slow to anger and abounding in love?” For there was a time, not so very long ago, that we were just like the rest of the world. “Dead in [our] transgressions and sins, in which [we] used to live when [we] followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:1–5, NIV 1984). Would we deny them another opportunity for the same grace that we have received? Let’s pray for that opportunity and that many (“a great multitude that no one could number“) will take that opportunity.