“And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” – Jonah 4:11
Scripture reading: Jonah 4:9-11
In this section, the Lord asks Jonah a series of questions. He uses these questions to counsel His angry prophet. To paraphrase, the questioning goes something like this:
Jonah, you had pity on this plant. You had this extreme care, concern and compassion for it. You were happy and delighted in the plant. But Jonah, you didn’t do anything to get it. You didn’t make the plant grow. It just came up overnight and then it died overnight. It was nice to have when you had it, but you didn’t do anything to deserve it.
Okay Jonah, let’s say this emotion that you have for this plant is legitimate. No problem that you were happy about the plant and cared for it – that makes sense. Shouldn’t I be able to have that same emotion and concern for something a bit more significant?
Nineveh is a city full of human beings who are spiritually unaware (they cannot tell their right hand from their left). All these people are made in my image. They are in deep trouble, and they cannot save themselves. No, they are not innocent. They are sinners and are living with the consequences of their sinful actions. But they can’t get themselves out by themselves. They’re helpless and trapped.
There are cattle too. You cared for a plant, Jonah. Am I not allowed to be concerned for cattle, and even more so, for the people of that city?
Suggestions for prayer
Pray that the Lord would give you this heart of God – this pity, concern and compassion for lost people.
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 NTGDevotional.com.