Jonah 3:1,10 – The God of the second, third, fourth, fifth chance.
1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,
This shows the amazing love of God and His pursuit of His wayward people. Though Jonah did everything he could to run and resist the first call of God, after Jonah repented God called him again – though God was under no obligation to do it. He did it out of mercy and grace.
What we see right here in this verse and what Jonah found out is that God gives second chances. One problem is though that we never get back the time we wasted in sin. That is and always will be one of the consequences for our sinful running from God but through God’s grace when we repent of this we get a chance to start over or to reboot. Let me tell us this – it is good news for all of us, because each of us at one time or another has wished that we could have a do over. If you are like me you have made sinful mistakes – maybe in your finances, your career, your parenting, your marriage or whatever but these sinful mistakes led us to wish we could have one more chance or to reboot.
The truth is this when we admit our sin like Jonah did and express a desire to repent, God helps us reboot. Throughout the Bible we see God allowing many to have do over’s or second chances: Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Peter, and John Mark. Each of these men had failed in one way or another but they repented and asked God for a do over and He gave them one! Why did God do that for them, because God is the God of the second chances. God wants to forgive us and help us start new.
10 When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.
What did God look for? When he saw their deeds. When he saw they turned from their evil ways. In other words, when God saw their repentant heart, then He relented.
A commentator in writing about this says: God honored their repentance, even though their past sin was just reason enough for an outpouring of judgment. The state would never forgive a cold-blooded murderer who vowed to never do it again, but God mercifully relented from judgment against the people of Nineveh. We do not obligate God to forgive us when we repent. Instead, repentance appeals to God’s mercy, not His justice.
What about you? Are you like Jonah – someone who has had a relationship with God that has gotten messed up and need to repent and have a do over? Are you like the Ninevites and never had a relationship with God and need a reboot on life? Maybe you have just messed your life all up and not too sure of anything other than you need a do over. Today is the day – today is the day of the Do Over!