"It Is Written" - Redeemer's One Year Devotional
This is the single devotional entry for March 31.
Nineveh was heinous in their violent acts towards their enemies — they were known for cutting off the heads of their enemies and sticking them up on the city walls as trophies for all to see. Jonah did not think such a people deserved to be shown forgiveness and grace, and therefore sought to prevent them from being saved. All this because he knew the character of God to be “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster” (v. 2) — he knew that if the people would turn, that God would be inclined to not destroy them.
In Timothy Keller’s book, ‘The Prodigal God’, Keller says that the parable we commonly know as ‘The Prodigal Son’ (Luke 15:11-32) is really the story of two lost sons. The elder brother, representative of the moral, self-righteous Pharisees who are blind to their need for God’s grace, are equally if not more lost than the younger son who explicitly did wrong and comes back to the Father in poverty, recognizing his need! Unlike the two preceding parables to the one with two sons, where the one who lost something goes out to seek and find what was lost, the elder brother did not understand his Father’s heart and go out to seek out his lost younger brother, to bring him back in love.
I see Jonah as an elder brother. God asks Jonah if he does well to be angry. If this prophet recognized his own debt to God, that even though he was a law-abiding Israelite, he still had sin, he would have gone out to seek out the salvation of his “younger brother” Nineveh. We see here the story of two lost sons, but the one who we are brought to wonder at is the Prodigal God. The extravagance of this love is seen in the desire of God to forgive a wicked people as Nineveh. It is also seen in His patience and willingness to reason with Jonah.
Whether you are the younger or elder brother, recognize your need for Christ. The coming of Easter calls us to repent — to change our minds and admit that we are bankrupt unless we have Christ. The good news is we do have Him, because this Prodigal God sent The Elder Brother Jesus Christ to come and seek and save His younger brothers, to bring us home to the Father. Come in to feast at His table of amazing grace and love, set out for all.
— Rowena AuYeung