For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.
The Jews in the Old Testament might have hung on to what was being promised in this Psalm of David that God is abundant in mercy and is ready to forgive all those who call upon Him.
And for us Christians today, we are more blessed as we are receiving His mercy more abundantly because we not only believe and hang onto the promises in the Old Testament, we have the assured promises in the New Testament that we can claim when we have sinned.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Indeed our God is abounding with mercy and forgiveness. But with such a God, do we want to take Him for granted? Do we want to go on hurting Him with our sinful desires and then come running back to Him for forgiveness?
Prophet Jonah tried to run away from God, but now he has to run back to God. Only this time he has to do the running on his knees.
To have survived in such a condition as in the belly of the fish was indeed a great miracle.
Imagine, you are in the fish’s belly, with the water constantly gushing in, sea weeds wrapping around your head, and on top of that, the stench in the belly could have made breathing so much difficult that it may cause you to give up gasping for air totally.
But I believe this was what Prophet Jonah had gone through, and in such a dire situation, it made him rethink of his action, his disobedience to God’s command, and his foolishness to try to escape from God.
Then Prophet Jonah repented of his sins, and God heard him and asked the fish to spew him out on the dry land.
We may think, after reading the Book of Jonah, that the prophet of God should not have done this foolishness; and we think that since Jonah was called a prophet, he should have just obeyed God and go preach to the people of Nineveh, what’s the big deal?
But haven’t we done the same foolishness? Let’s ponder over this question together shall we?
Before we do that, let’s remember what are we in the eyes of God,
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
1Peter 2: 9-10
The descriptive words used in this passage are indeed very strong and touching our hearts with the understanding of how God sees us.
So we have no excuses to even think that we are different from Prophet Jonah. I believe you know what I mean.
So with this status in mind, let’s ponder the following questions:
The great commission to all Christians to preach the salvation of God (Matthew 28:19) was clearly written and understood from the Bible, but how many of us have run away from it? Have we jumped to conclusion that certain people would never come to accept Christ because they are simply very bad people?
The command by our Lord Jesus to love on another as Christ has loved us (John 13:34), have we actually done it, or again, run away from this commandment and to just mind our own business?
The command to love our enemy (Luke 6:35), have we sincerely forgiven those who have hurt us, or have we been hating them since the very day that they hurt us?
The command to flee from youthful lusts and flee from immorality (2Timothy 2:22, 1Corinthians 6:18), have we done accordingly or instead we flee from God and run into fulfilling our fleshly lusts?
The command to worship no other gods (Exodus 20:3), have we obediently kept this commandment or have we been fervently worshipping other gods like our pride and money?
I think the list can go on if we search deeper into our hearts, we may sadly be able to continue this list of things that we have done to run away from God’s commands.
I am guilty of committing some of those mentioned in the list. But I really thank God that He is merciful and has provided us with a way out as mentioned at the very top of this posting, (Psalms 86:5 & 1John 1:9).
I always tell myself to always remember the loving kindness of God, and how unworthy am I to be called His child.
But let us be warned not to sin willfully, “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.” Hebrews 10: 26 – 27
So let us all be sober and keep this important matter in our hearts, that we don’t reject the grace, mercy and love of God; but at the same time never take Him for granted and continue to hurt Him with our disobedience and sinful ways.
Praise and thank God for His wonderful grace that He is continually and willingly showering upon all of us. And may we all put in our utmost to love Him with a steadfast obedience to His commandments.