I heard a song yesterday with a beautiful refrain.
“There is no valley, there is no darkness;
There is no sorrow greater than the grace of Jesus!
There is no moment, there is no distance;
There is no heartbreak, He can't take you through! So before you think that you're too lost to save, Remember, there is nothing greater than grace!”
“Nothing is greater than grace!”
For the last couple of weeks, we have been considering great men in the Bible and their momentous encounters with a gracious God; Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Gideon, Elijah, and others. Each of these characters was flawed, failed, frail. We see their greatness through the lens of God’s great grace.
Let’s take a look at Jonah.
Jonah was a monumental failure, a flop. He’s the guy who ran away from God. When God invited Jonah to join Him in His redemptive work in Nineveh, Jonah took off, he high-tailed it, he skedaddled! “Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence” (Jonah 1:3). Tarshish was at the farthest end of the known world. Jonah was going as far as he could travel to get away from God and His mission.
In Jonah-logic, his decision made perfect sense. Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, the enemy of right and righteousness, the evil adversary of God and His chosen people. To preach God’s message in Nineveh was unthinkable. Jonah refused to take part in God’s mission of mercy to the merciless Assyrians.
But that’s not the end of the story. Nothing is greater than grace, not Assyria’s sin, and not Jonah’s stubborn refusal to obey God.
In the middle of his Mediterranean voyage, “the Lord threw a great wind onto the sea, and such a great storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart” (Jonah 1:4). Jonah knew that God commands the wind and the waves! He recognized that the sailors would survive the storm, only if they tossed him into the sea. When they did, “the Lordappointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:17). Sing it again: Nothing is greater than grace!
God went to extraordinary lengths to convince Jonah to preach in Nineveh and God used extraordinary grace to save the Ninevites. Much to Jonah’s astonishment, the entire city, from the lowest pauper to the king himself, everyone repented. “God saw their actions—that they had turned from their evil ways—so God relented from the disaster he had threatened them with. And he did not do it” (Jonah 3:10). Why? Because there is nothing greater than grace!
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.