“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
This is what Jonah said when The Ninevites repented, and God decided to withhold bringing destruction on them. Jonah knew God’s character. I never quite caught that before. I’ve always focused on the fact that Jonah was mad about God not destroying them. He knew what God would do, and he wanted no part in saving the hated Ninevites. I believe Jonah provides us with a clear distinction between the heart of God and the heart of man.
I hear people ask how can a loving God let this or that happen? Yet, Jonah wanted his loving God to bring disaster. These are obvious contrasting perspectives on God. Both fail to understand the heart of God. Peter tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) God loves us all. Judgement will come, but he gives us time because he loves us.
God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. This is the heart of God; not the heart of man. Man in his heart wants revenge. God’s heart wants us to receive the salvation he provided through his son. In my quest to understand God, understanding his heart brings completion. Knowing his heart is knowing him. Now I just have to become like him.
Father, help me to lay down my heart and take up your heart. Build in me, O Lord, a heart of forgiveness that desires redemption not revenge. Amen!