God's unchanging purpose for all of mankind is to seek and to save them from their sin. He wants everyone on the Earth to repent of their sin and turn to Him.
"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth:
for I am God, and there is none else." (
God went to great lengths to make sure that the people of Nineveh (Israel's enemy) were told about Him and given the chance to repent.
- God chose Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach His Word (Jonah 1:1-2)
- When Jonah ran from God's Will, God prepared a storm to stop him (Jonah 1:3-6)
- God used a game of chance onboard the ship to point the sailor's attention to Jonah as the cause for the storm (1:7-10)
- After Jonah was thrown overboard, God calmed the storm (1:11-15)
- God heard the sailors' prayers of repentance (1:16)
- God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah to save his life (1:17)
- God allowed time for Jonah to pray and repent to God (2:1-9)
- God spoke to the fish and it spit Jonah out on dry ground (2:10)
- God gave Jonah a second chance to follow His Will (3:1-2)
- Jonah was empowered by God to preach to those in Nineveh (3:3-4)
- God answered the prayers of repentance from everyone in Nineveh (3:5-9)
Jonah 3:10 to see how God responded to the Ninevites' prayers.
"And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented
of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not."
This verse gives us the impression that the God that never changes, just changed. However let's review who it was that did the changing.
God does not change who He is. He is just and must punish everyone that rejects Him. If the people of Nineveh had not repented, God would have destroyed them.
God is also loving and merciful. His love and mercy cannot ignore a sincerely repentant heart. God does not change, but when the unsaved change to accept Him, He changes His response toward them. God was consistent with His character and showed the Ninevites mercy.
In the story of Jonah...
- God changed His response to the sailors when they repented
- God changed His response to Jonah when he repented
- God changed His response to Nineveh when they all repented.
God never changes, but when He hears our prayers of repentance, He changes His response toward us.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER:
Because God Never Changes, He will never change His character, but repentance and prayer does turn away His just anger, and opens ways to see God work.
Pray for someone you are angry with or who has hurt you deeply. Ask God to help him see his need for Jesus and to repent of the mean things he's done. Thank God that though He never changes, He listens to our repentant hearts and prayers.