The expanse of God’s grace, even for the wicked.
This morning, I am back in the Old Testament. Specifically, the minor prophet of Jonah. The book of Jonah is an amazing account of adventure. Yet, it also holds a great account of God’s grace, even for the those who were considered wicked. As I read through the first chapter of Jonah, I find myself drawn by the following passage:
“The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, ‘What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?’ ‘Pick me up and throw me into the sea,’ he replied, ‘and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.’ Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before.” (1:11-13)
“Then they cried to the LORD, ‘O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased.’ Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.” (1:14-16)
It’s important for us to understand that even in grave situations, God is working all things for His glory. Let’s think of these sailors. They were pagan men, from a pagan land, worshiping pagan gods until this deadly storm hit them.
We can see that they must have had some good in them from verse 14, where they beg God to forgive them for killing an innocent man. They apparently had no desire to throw Jonah overboard. However, they had been convinced by Jonah that they must to save their own lives. They obviously felt that they had no choice in the matter.
We all know the rest of the story, how God provided a way out of danger for Jonah and taught him some valuable lessons. Regardless, look at these sailors who were left behind! Look at verse 16 and how this crazy situation has changed their lives! The sailors end up fearing God, making a sacrifice to Him and then, they make vows to Him! How incredible is that?
Not to bang the sovereignty of God drum too loud, but what if Jonah had gone straight to Nineveh? Would these sailors have made vows to God if Jonah had of gone straight to Nineveh? Perhaps, but it didn’t happen like that, did it?
Sometimes, it’s within God’s authority and fore-knowledge to use our sinful ways and disobedience (like Jonah’s) to fulfill a role that will ultimately bring more people unto Himself.
Today, as you interact with numerous people in a variety of situations, whether you’re following God’s leading or not; don’t underestimate the possibility that God may be working a far greater plan for someone else, and you’re just a tool by which our Creator is using for His glory!