Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Christian devotions in the Daily-Message

Now is the time of grace

“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.”

Jonah 3:10-4:1
 

We are probably not aware with every part of our beings, what it really means to forgive a person. Likewise, what it means to God when a person turns away from his unbelief. We would most likely not forgive some things which God deliberately makes a matter of His grace. The prophet Jonah was an example of someone who could not and would not comprehend God's decisions. In his opinion, it was unjust to give the people of the town Nineveh with its 120,000 population one grace period after another, warning them repeatedly of God's judgement. He despised their godlessness, cruelty and arrogance and thought they would get what they deserved (their destruction). In principle he was correct. Accordingly, we can also comprehend Jonah's reaction to God's instructions. Have we not ourselves encountered people for whom we wished bad rather than good? It is certainly not the case that God's grace is cheap and that He was blind to the goings on in Nineveh. He knows the hearts of people (Genesis 8:21). He also knows your heart. I think, if we always got what we deserved, we would never be happy again and plunge into a bottomless pit. We are unfortunately always quick to judge others and point the finger at them. We assume to be objective and fair, but don't see the big picture. To see with God's eyes, means to see everything. I am unable to do that.

Jonah first took flight and wanted nothing to do with God's intentions – someone else could take on the task. Later, God taught him to recognize and understand His motive. We mostly only see the tip of the iceberg and react to that which is visible. It is too little! The people of Nineveh repented after Jonah prophesied their destruction (Jonah 3:1-10). God knew it! That this city with its people backslid and became godless again approximately 100 years later, and then were totally destroyed, is written on another page. Grace and the day of salvation is now! Nobody is saved by duress or forced to become a Christian. However, do we realize how people can change when they are truly confronted with salvation and redemption? How they react when they become aware of their sins and their eternally lost condition? Should we then not think twice before hastily giving up on someone and rejecting them? Even if they are strangers to us and provoke us? And as Christians, should we not always put grace before righteousness, as we are all under (unmerited) grace? To whom God is merciful, He is merciful and He has compassion with whomever He wills (Romans 9:15). Whoever can comprehend this in his time, and does it, is blessed and accepted.

(Translated by Linda Gates)

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