Sunday, February 21, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Nobody is beyond God’s forgiveness
Jonah 3:1-10
  
Saramma Chacko

Epiphany MTC, NY

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

Prophet Jonah disobeyed God, as a result landed in the belly of a big fish. From there, he prayed and God heard him. In His mercy, God forgave him. In the given passage, we see that Jonah was given a second chance to go to Nineveh to proclaim God’s message and he obeyed. Nineveh was one of the biggest cities in the known world, in the time of Jonah, with approximately 120,000 inhabitants. They were brutal people, leading a sinful life.  Jonah reluctantly preached God’s message regarding the impending doom of Nineveh in forty days for he did not want them to repent and to be saved. He wanted them to be punished as they were not Jews.  In his mindset, the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness of God only belonged to the Jews. The rest of the world deserves God’s judgment and not forgiveness. He considered himself superior to the Ninevites. For him, the people of Nineveh were outside the boundary of God’s love, grace and mercy. He had an exclusive mentality.  We all are sinners in need of a Savior. God’s love, grace, mercy and forgiveness extends to all without any barrier of nationality, ethnicity, race or language.
Jonah’s preaching was a success though he considered himself as a failure. The entire city of Nineveh responded urgently to Jonah’s preaching and repented whereas the Israelites never repented like this as a nation, in spite of God sending them multiple prophets.  All the people of Nineveh wore sackcloth, fasted, sat in ashes, and turned away from their evil and violent ways. People from all categories, rich and poor, king and beggar, old and young, alike repented. They humbled themselves and accepted the sovereignty of God. God forgave them and relented from the disaster that He had threatened to bring on them. God can use even a reluctant person’s words to change the hearts of the people of a nation and to turn them away from their sinful ways, causing repentance. Jonah was a person like us, with weakness like us, but when he obeyed God, he was used for His purpose.

PRAYER

Merciful God, enable us to humble ourselves, repent of our sins and obey Your commands. Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Believers in Christ must have an inclusive mindset. Christ died to save the whole world. When we repent of our sins, God forgives us.