THE LORD’S PATIENCE

Scripture Reading: Jonah 4:4-6

“And the Lord said, ‘Do you do well to be angry?'” (Jonah 4:4)

One of the attributes of God for which I am very thankful is His patience. Look at the way the Lord dealt with Jonah. Jonah had experienced the consequences of his disobedience when he was thrown overboard and was doomed to die. Yet God saved him from death in an extraordinary way — “And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days” (1:17). Jonah cried out to God and the Lord delivered him — “And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land” (2:10). God gave Jonah another opportunity to obey (3:1).

Jonah experienced God’s mercy and grace. Yet when God granted mercy to the Ninevites, Jonah became angry. God asked Jonah a question — “Do you do well to be angry?” Jonah did not respond to the question. Instead he “went out of the city, and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city” (v. 5). I assume Jonah still had hope that God would destroy the city; but He did not.

So God patiently continued to deal with Jonah. God made another provision for him — “Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah’s head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant” (v. 6).

God was not finished with Jonah yet. But do you see how patient God was with him? And do you see God’s patience in the way he dealt with Nineveh? Now you can see what the Scripture means when it says, ‘The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as seem count slowness, but is patient toward you, not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance” (II Peter 3:9).

Gracious and patient God, thank You for loving me and for being patient with me. I know that I deserve Your judgment, but instead You lovingly and patiently grant me mercy. Forgive me for my lack of patience when You are so patient with me.

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