Lent Devotional: Jonah 3:1-4

by Jonathan Haefs

Jonah 3:1-4
Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

A second chance…

Jonah gets a second chance, but only because God is sovereign! If God was not sovereignly in control, then he could not guarantee such a second chance for Jonah… nor could he guarantee a second chance for any of us.

The sovereignty of God is always good news…even when it hurts our head.

Because God is sovereign, we can rest in the fact that he can even use our sins, our mistakes, and our failures for our ultimate good and his ultimate glory. Such was the case with Jonah. Even as Jonah ran from God, the Lord used that running to bring pagan sailors to know him, and to reveal to Jonah the brokenness of his own heart.

Sin never wins! God always wins! He sovereign, even over sin and will use it for his ultimate purposes!

Yet, this doesn’t give us an excuse to sin. It didn’t give Jonah an excuse for his sinful actions. No. Jonah was still held responsible for what he did, and so are we. God’s sovereignty and our responsibility are not a contradiction, but a necessary combination taught all throughout the pages of Scripture.

His sovereignty stirs up faith in us that he will accomplish all he intends to through us (and even in spite of us). Yet, the fact of our responsibility stirs up faithfulness, that we are to be faithful to his call!

Sovereignty doesn’t make us fatalists and responsibility doesn’t cause us to live in fear. No. Sovereignty makes us a people of faith and responsibility causes us to live in faithfulness.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.