Tuesday, 15 November 2022
“I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.” -Jonah 4:2
GRACE!- a word we so often use; yet have we truly understood God’s grace as He has extended it? In the Book of Jonah, we see the grace of God pursue Jonah and the people of Nineveh. We may think Jonah, the Prophet of God should have understood God’s grace better but in reality it was the people of Nineveh that captured it! In God’s pursuit of Jonah to uncover his heart, He did not give up on him. We see God’s amazing grace pursuing him all through- even through the storm, the sailors of the ship, the fish…God pursues us with His grace for the fulfilment of His divine purpose.
God extends His grace to reveal our heart issues. While God’s anger toward Nineveh had ceased, Jonah’s anger exploded. Jonah could not accept the fact that the God of grace is good and merciful. He behaved like the elder brother in the Prodigal Son story, representing the Pharisees of Jesus’ day- who loved grace for themselves, but not for others. God extended His grace to show Jonah’s his deepest heart issues. But Jonah failed to see the grace that God like the Ninevites did, which resulted in their repentance; Jonah was still angry!
Brothers and sisters, God is interested in your deepest heart issues. We often try to treat the symptoms, but God wants to get to the cause. We often have struggles whereby we are unwilling to open up the closets of our hearts and give them over to God. God’s grace then meets a barrier. When you are caught up with just “you”— your attitude and your thinking, you land up being like Jonah. You go through life looking at the symptoms without getting to the heart of the problem which stems from the problem of the heart! If we don’t deeply think and pray about who we are and why we do the things we do, we will never experience a breakthrough. We try to fit God into our agenda, and when things go wrong and we realize we cannot control God, we end up in anger.
God extends His grace to you, so you can be delivered and blessed to be a blessing to others. How much of your heart is willingly surrendered to Christ, will determine how much of you He can use you. When God asked Jonah a question, he does not answer but leaves God’s presence in silence. We are so much like Jonah. God points out a weak spot in our heart, convicts us, calls us to repent, and what do we do? We do not want to think about it and we find our own comfort spot to be in. Again, God acts in grace. Even in the midst of his unrighteous anger and silence toward God, God responds with such grace. In extending His grace to Jonah, He is not just revealing Jonah’s heart to himself but revealing God’s heart to Jonah in an effort for him to repent and be used by God to reach others. That is the goal of grace— to be moved so much by it that it extends into the lives of others.
Can we pray that God would open our eyes to see all the acts of grace He bestows on our lives? Instead of being wrapped up within ourselves, may God’s grace enable us to reach out to others in love. That is exactly what God did for us! God’s love reached out to each of us while we were still sinners! He gave His Son so that we could be saved from eternal death. Jesus paid the price on the cross to demonstrate God’s eternal love for mankind.
Grace has come to us through Jesus Christ. If today like Jonah, we are lost and stubborn, stuck in our religious, narrow-minded ways, may we make that decision to repent of our hard heartedness and submit our lives to Christ, so His will and purpose for our lives may be fulfilled. Amen!
Thought for the day: God’s grace pursues you today— not just to reveal the depth of your sin, but the depth of His love for you!