God wanted to give the people of Nineveh a chance to be sorry and obey him before he punished them. God told Jonah to preach to the Ninevites. Jonah hated these people, so he tried to run away from his assignment and hide from God.
Why did Jonah react this way? “Slowly but surely, we realize the truth: Jonah hadn’t run away because he was afraid the Ninevites would reject his message. He ran away because He was afraid they would accept it! Jonah couldn’t stomach the thought that God might actually forgive these wretched people.
“It’s easy to point the finger at Jonah’s small, unmerciful heart. But the moment we judge Jonah, we judge ourselves. All of us are naturally tribal, focused on ourselves, and our self-preservation. It’s God who breaks through our artificial borders and leads us out into the world with good news.” —Trevin Wax, The Gospel Coalition
Today, pray for a group of people you have trouble loving. Ask God to help you love and reach out to that group.
Read today’s passage online at Bible Gateway.
To enhance your understanding, watch this excellent video from the Bible Project—where visual storytelling meets the Bible: