Each day this month, we will consider key moments in God’s glorious plan to redeem us. We will understand both the overarching story of God and the highlights of all he’s done for us in Christ.

Who does not deserve the compassion of God?

Thieves? Cheaters? Corrupt officials? Drug dealers? Violent criminals?

What about terrorists, rapists, or torturers?

Who does not deserve the compassion of God?

This is the unspoken question in the book of Jonah.

For more than 350 years, God’s redemptive plan featured prophets proclaiming God’s messages — mostly to their own people. God called the prophet Jonah to something different: to preach to Israel’s archenemy, the Assyrians.

The Assyrians tortured the people they captured. They burned their victims and covered pillars and walls with their skins. Those they left alive they maimed, cutting off fingers, limbs, noses, ears and tongues, or blinding them.

Who does not deserve the compassion of God?

Jonah’s answer: The Assyrians!

**Yet God sent Jonah to them. **

As long as God wiped out these sick enemies, Jonah didn’t mind. But if the Assyrians responded to God’s message, repented, and were forgiven, that would confirm Jonah’s worst fears. That’s why Jonah so famously headed in the opposite direction. “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity” (Jonah 4:2).

God “whaled” on Jonah, and Jonah ended up going to Nineveh, their capital. Beyond all expectation, the Ninevites heartily repented of their sin. To Jonah’s great consternation, God forgave and did not destroy them. God’s compassion is astounding. He even loves Assyrians!

**Who Does Not Deserve the Compassion of God? **

None of us deserve it. By certain ethical standards, we may not act as badly as the Assyrians, but we too stand before his holiness — guilty, condemned, and unable to save ourselves. We too must return wholeheartedly to him and cast ourselves on his mercy. We don’t deserve his compassion, but he still extends it to us. How dare we not extend it to everyone else?

Dearest Father, here on Earth, we cast people into different categories according to the types of sins they commit. But in your eyes, there are only two types of people: those who are in Adam, and those who are in Christ. Thank you for offering new life, a new creation, complete deliverance from our evil — to all of us, without any exception. Thank you for your forgiveness and your transforming power. Amen.

Throughout This Day: Reflect on the fact that God wants to extend his grace and compassion to everyone you meet, and ask him to show you how to do that too today.

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Tags: God’s Story Daily Devotional Exodus 33
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