‘Salvation comes from the Lord’ (2:9). We can never save ourselves. We can only be saved – by the Lord. Left to our own devices, we ‘flee from the presence of the Lord’. We ‘run away from the Lord’ (1:3). Sin – This is the story of our life. Salvation – This is the story of what the Lord has done for us. We are sinners. We need to be saved. How can our life be turned around? How can we turn from the way of sin and seek the way of salvation? We cannot change ourselves. We need to be changed by God. We cannot forgive our own sins. We need to to be forgiven by the Lord. Where does the desire for forgiveness and change come from? Does it come from ourselves? No! It comes from the Lord: ‘He drew me, and I followed on…’ (Mission Praise, 499).
The people of Nineveh ‘believed God’ and ‘turned from their evil ways’. God had shown Himself to be ‘a gracious and compassionate God…’. How did Jonah react? Was he rejoicing in the Lord? No! He was complaining – ‘Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry’. Jonah was a proud Jew. He despised the Ninevites. He didn’t want them to be saved. That’s why he was ‘so quick to flee to Tarshish’ (3:5,10; 4:1-2). What does God’s Word say about Jonah’s attitude? – ‘You have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else’. We must not ‘show contempt for the riches of His kindness’. We must not say, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men’. We must pray, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’ (Romans 2:1,4; Luke 18:11-14).