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RECIPIENTS OF GOD’S GREAT GRACE – THE NINEVITES



I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God. He is the “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them!” (Acts 4:24, ESV). “He is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords!” (1 Timothy 6:15). He is all-mighty, all-knowing, always-present, and never-changing. The Bible says it, so I believe it!


But the theology of a sovereign God isn’t logical! It doesn’t make sense to the human mind. How can we balance the truth of evil with that of a holy and sovereign God? Is it possible for an earth-bound mind to fathom a sovereign God who allows His creatures to exercise free will? The free-will of man and the omnipotent rule of God seem to be mutually exclusive… don’t they?


So, we must accept these truths by faith. God doesn’t need be humanly logical! There are truths about God that mankind simply can’t fully grasp. “His ways are higher than our ways!” (Isaiah 55:9) He’s God. We’re not!

Here’s an example of an unfathomable God… The Bible says, “God is not a man, that he might lie, or a son of man, that he might change his mind. Does he speak and not act, or promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19). “The Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change his mind, for he is not man who changes his mind” (1 Samuel 15:29 (CSB). The Bible also beckons us to seek the Lord’s mercy. “Turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and he relents from sending disaster. Who knows? He may turn and relent!” (Joel 2:12).


What occurred in the capital city of Assyria? An unchanging God changed His mind! God called the prophet, a guy named Jonah, to preach in Nineveh. Jonah refused to obey God’s command and ran away. Remember? The storm… the whale… three days… you know the story. God was polite the first time and a bit more convincing the second… “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.’ … ‘In forty days Nineveh will be demolished!’ ” (Jonah 3:1, 4).


Amazingly, the pagan people of Nineveh believed God’s message. They recognized their sinfulness and their absolute need for God’s mercy and grace. They repented. “Then the people of Nineveh believed God. They proclaimed a fast and dressed in sackcloth—from the greatest of them to the least” (Jonah 3:5). When the Ninevites cried “out earnestly to God” and turned from their “evil ways and … wrongdoing” (Jonah 3:8), “God relented from the disaster he had threatened them with” (Jonah 3:10). God changed His mind!


So… is God all-mighty, all-knowing, always-present, and never-changing? Yes! Absolutely! And… does God answer prayer? Of course! We can “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). “Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you”(Matthew 7:7).


Let me leave you with a suggestion… The next time you approach God in prayer, recognize Him as your loving Father. Snuggle up close! Ask! Seek! Knock! But at the same time, see Him as King. Bow before Him. He’s not Santa Claus. He’s God! Pray, “Father in heaven…” not my will be done, but… “Your will be done!” (Matthew 6:9–10).


Does God answer prayer? Yes. Did it make sense to Jonah? No. Did the pagan people of Nineveh deserve God’s grace? No. Do we? No… but God is gracious!