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September 21 – A relenting and responsive God

“…If that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it.” – Jeremiah 18:8 

Scripture reading: Jeremiah 18:4-11, Jonah 3:10

When the Lord God saw what the Ninevites did and how they turned from their evil way, He relented from the disaster he had planned (Jonah 3:10). This part of the narrative is an example of God’s sovereignty needing to be held in tension with man’s responsibility. Did God just change his mind because of the Ninevites’ repentance?

Believing in the sovereignty of God means that salvation is all the work of God (see Jonah 2:9). Yet there is also man’s responsibility to respond to the command to repent. In Jeremiah 18, the Lord explains how He will relent from the disaster He had planned against a nation if they will repent. He also warns that He will relent from the good that He had intended if a nation stops listening to His voice.

In addition to relenting, this narrative shows how God is a responsive God as well as a God of compassion. He responds to our actions, to our repentance, and to our prayers. He isn’t obliged to, but He does because He is a God who keeps his covenant promises.

Suggestions for prayer

Ask the Lord to help you trust in his sovereignty. Sing “I sought the Lord and afterward I knew.”

Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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