** Hi friends! This post is part of a blog hop for Advent. At the end of my post you'll find links to some wonderful blogger friends who want to help you prepare Him room. Take some time to read them all. They really changed my heart and they will change yours too. **
It may seem a little odd that on the cusp of Advent season I want to talk about Jonah, but God often takes us down windy roads to prepare our hearts. I have been stuck in the four short chapters of Jonah for over a month. Hidden in this story I have found the grace of God-the same grace that sent a son to die for the sins of the world.
Most of you know that Jonah was swallowed by a fish for disobeying God but lived to tell the tale. It's the great Moby Dick story of the Bible. What you will miss, if you don't read closely, is the story of man's selfish heart met by the grace of God's love-over and over again.
Jonah went on a three hour tour to get away from God (as if one could "get away" from God) and ended up in the belly of a fish. The reason? God asked him to go preach against the sins of a great nation, Nineveh. The very nation that had persecuted God's people. He was to preach a warning message to turn them from their evil ways. Jonah's reason for not wanting to do this was not because he was afraid of the people in Nineveh, it was not that it was a terrible place to visit as it was a rich land, his reason for not wanting to go was because he knew that if he warned them of their evil ways and they repented and turned to God that God would forgive them.
Jonah didn't want God to forgive the people of Nineveh. Jonah had decided their sins were too great to be forgiven. Aren't you glad that God is in charge of the forgiveness department and not Jonah or you or me? Left up to us, there would be a lot of nonredeemable people in the world.
Jonah does get out of that fish, praising God for His grace and he goes to that town and obediently preaches as God instructed. As the King called the nation to repentance Jonah hiked to a nearby mountain top hoping God would still destroy their city. I can picture him staring up at the sky waiting for fireballs to drop down on Nineveh. His waiting was in vain.
Jonah was flat out mad that God forgave the people of Nineveh and showed mercy. I love God's response in Jonah 4:10-11
But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
In other words, I made these people. I created mankind and I alone will determine how to love them. And I choose grace. I choose to pursue them when they sin against me and reward them as they draw near to me. This is my relationship and the only law that dictates is love.
The theme of this first week of Advent is hope. As we anticipate the upcoming anniversary of our Savior's birthday, let us find hope in a God that loves with grace unbound. Let us extend that hope to others as we offer them grace and not judgement. Just as Jesus did.
Be sure to read all these blogs that are part of the Prepare Him Room blog hop.
Wrapped in Grace – by DeanaLynnRogers.com
Welcoming Jesus is less about perfect preparations and more about scooching over.
Prepare Him Room - By Going The Distance
Read about the love language of Advent season.
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room – by Living For God
Pause, Reflect, Enjoy, Praise, Accept, Rejoice, Exclaim
Prepare Him Room – by Revelations of a Southern Girl
Revelations about celebrating the season with an illness.
This post is part of the Prepare Him Room Blog Hop as part of the Woven Vow Blogger Group on Facebook. Join us for blog talk and faith filled encouragement.
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I'm just a girl, standing before my God, knowing that He loves me and wanting others to know that love too.