Scripture Reading: Jonah 3:1-5
“Jonah began to go into the city, going a days journey. And he called out, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.'” (Jonah 3:4)
Preaching about God’s justice and wrath is not very popular today. We had much rather hear about God’s love and forgiveness than about His justice and wrath. But the Bible teaches that God is both loving and just. We cannot ignore the fact that God will not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:7). God was very aware of the evil that was prevalent in Nineveh — “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before Me” (1:2).
What was the evil that came up to God from Nineveh? We are given help understanding what it was from the king’s words in verse 8 of this chapter — “Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands.” The Assyrians were a cruel and fierce people. They did evil things to others. They were violent and oppressive.
The word “violence” used by the king denotes oppression and social injustice. Some of God’s other prophets also condemned the Assyrians for these things. Take time to read God’s message to the Assyrians in Isaiah 10:5-16. You also find strong words address to the Ninevites in Nahum — “Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and plunder — no end to the prey. The crash of the whip, and rumble of the wheel, galloping horse and abounding chariot” (Nahum 3:1,2).
Because of the evil, oppression and social injustice found in Nineveh, God sent Jonah to give a message of judgment — “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” It was a message of divine displeasure and wrath. God sees the exploitation, oppression and abuse that takes place. It displeases Him greatly and you can be assured that He will deal with it.
We must not fail to preach the justice of God along with preaching the mercy of God. And we Christians dare not ignore the oppression and social injustice that is taking place among the people’s of the world today. Such things anger God and they should anger us.
God of Justice, forgive me for being insensitive to the oppressed people of the world today. Forgive me for turning my head away from the social injustice and violence that takes place everyday. I know that You are a just God and that You will deal with all forms of sin and evil. Let me be angered by the things that anger You. But I also thank You for the mercy that You have extended to me. Thank You for Jesus who makes it possible for me to be forgiven of my sins.
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