Weekly Devotional | "A Saving Mercy"
This devotional is based on Brian Chesemore's sermon, A Saving Mercy, given on November 13, 2016.
Day 1: The Word of the Lord and a Wayward Messenger (v.1-4)
- “Jonah now has a second chance to learn the scandalous mercy of God.” Kevin Youngblood
- “I would imagine that in this room there are some of who may have tried, maybe even recently, to flee from God and his rule in your life. Maybe today you fear that God has written you off because of your past refusal to submit to his Word, to his call. You look back and you see that his call came to you ever so clearly but instead of submitting to it, embracing it, you disobeyed. And maybe today you feel your sin is just so shameful that the idea of fleeing God seems far easier than facing him. Maybe you fear your sin has made you useless for the purposes of God. But today, God’s Word comes again a second time, so to say, with mercy.” Brian Chesemore
- “What a surprising and even merciful encounter it is when one thinks ‘surely God is done with me’ to find that he comes again. . . . Because our God is merciful, he’s not done with Jonah, nor is he done with you and me.” Brian Chesemore
Questions and Reflections:
- Despite knowing God’s gracious and merciful nature toward the wayward, why do we still at times want to run from him?
- How does the Enemy use our past failings to cause us to shrink back from present obedience? Where does the freeing truth of the gospel fit into this?
- Read Luke 15:17-24, which recounts the interaction between the prodigal son and his father. Thank God for running to those who are far off…just as he ran after Jonah…just as he ran after you. Ask him to fill you with the assurance that you cannot outrun his grace. Ask him to give that same assurance to those within our church who may feel far from him.
Day 2: The Word of the Lord and the Most Unlikely of Converts (v.5-9)
- “We see that in this city from king to commoner these unlikely converts have encountered God’s Word of pending judgment and it was having its intended impact; deep concern, humiliation spread through the hearts of every person in this city. And in their humiliation they also have a glimmer of hope.” Brian Chesemore
- “Friends, this scene must have been unimaginable to Jonah. People Jonah would have deemed as utterly undeserving, blind to the things of God, indifferent to all that God has taught and done. Beyond hope, beyond reach, gentiles, pagans, hostile enemies, here they are, and their gentile king, thinking rightly of their need for God, thinking rightly about the very real danger of facing God’s fierce anger and just judgment, thinking rightly about the sovereign prerogative of God to show mercy to whom he will.” Brian Chesemore
Questions and Reflections:
- What clues in the text reveal that the Ninevites are trusting in God’s mercy for salvation rather than their own works?
- According to 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, what is God’s reason for seeking out “unlikely” candidates for grace? Therefore, what would have been a proper response toward the Ninevites’ repentance?
- Joel 2:12-14 shows God’s eagerness to give grace to even the most ill-deserving people. Whichever kind of people group you think best fits this description, ask God to mightily save them. Ask him to give you the desire and opportunity to share the gospel with these individuals this month. Also pray for protection against thinking anyone or any people group is beyond the mercy of God.
Day 3: A Deep Experience of God’s Mercy (v.10)
- “This great city, its great people in number, has been of great concern to God. He’s wanted to show compassion. He’s wanted to show pity. He’s wanted to show mercy to them. This is why he called Jonah in the first place. This is why rescued his wayward prophet from his rebellion: to bring him into this remarkable experience of national repentance and God glorifying mercy to gentiles. He restored Jonah personally that Jonah might witness this unlikely display of mercy.” Brian Chesemore
- “It’s because he [Jesus] came that God could relent of his destruction toward Nineveh, towards Jonah, towards you, towards me. The king of Nineveh had it right. God in his holiness and righteousness really did have a fierce anger, he really did have impending disaster in response to their evil and to our evil. But on that day God relented. He relented in light of a future day. . . . God looked upon his precious Son, fully God and fully man, and he did not relent of his fierce anger, he did not withhold his justified wrath for our sin.” Brian Chesemore
Questions and Reflections:
- How is it that God’s severe warning to the Ninevites was actually an act of great love? How does this relate to evangelism?
- Do you view God as eager or reluctant to save sinners? How was Jonah’s view tested and what did it reveal? If you were similarly tested, what would it reveal?
- Isaiah 30:18 reminds us that the God of justice loves to exalt himself to show mercy and grace. Thank Jesus for giving his life as a substitute for your own so that you could know this grace. Ask God to help you see him clearly and consistently as a God who eagerly waits to give grace.
Group Discussion Questions:
- Considering your conversion or current walk with the Lord, what past or present mercies has God bestowed upon you? Read Deuteronomy 4:9. How do you remind yourself of these amazing mercies in order to avoid forgetfulness?
- Brian reminded us that the Ninevites’ response to God’s warning was one of action. We aren’t to sit in humiliation, but instead call on God. Have you ever been tempted to wallow in the thought of your sin? How did God pull you out of despair and draw you to a freeing repentance? Was it a particular scripture; was it a word from a brother or sister?
- The Ninevites were the most unlikely of converts, but God moved them to repentance. Are there individuals or people groups that we can pray for and pursue as a community group despite being unlikely to respond to the gospel (by our standards)?