The great city of Ninevah

The great city of Nineveh. Twice before, and again at the end of Jonah 4 the Lord calls the city “great.” It was the capital city of a nation so filled with arrogance and blood thirst that it would be forever known for its ruthlessness and brutality. It was an enemy of God’s people, and the Lord spoke of it in terms that equate it with Sodom and Gomorrah. Its wickedness has come up before me (Jonah 1:2). Who wouldn’t sympathize with Jonah? Who wouldn’t see things from Jonah’s perspective? Few nations in all of recorded history were more deserving of God’s wrath and judgment.

Yet the God who is slow to anger, who relents in sending calamity, considered Nineveh…great. I am stunned as I contemplate the compassionate and merciful love of God. He would later use Nineveh as a scourge against his own people for their eternal good. But Nineveh was great in the sight of the Lord because his heart abounds with love and is moved to rescue what has been lost to him.

Nineveh was not great because of its culture or its strength, not because of its superior record or potential. Nineveh was great because of its great need. Without mercy 120,000 people would have been destroyed forever and the Lord could not abide that. He is the God who recklessly places his beloved Son in death’s way so that death would not swallow sinners forever.

God calls upon us to preach and proclaim because He is not willing to let any perish. That is why He has chosen you to call sinners to repentance and proclaim to them the compassionate and gracious love of Jesus Christ. The population of Racine is 78,000. Add the 26,000 of Mt. Pleasant and the 7,000 of Sturtevant for a total population of 111,000 residents. A very large percentage of those do not know the Lord. We are to be concerned about the great ministry area to which God has called us – pastor and people.

Don’t sit under a plant brooding over God’s grace like Jonah did. Instead, get up and share God’s grace with others. You have been shown grace … to show grace. 


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