Jonah: Day 3

“Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has confronted Me.”

Jonah 1:2 (HCSB)

Do you remember the most vile and disgusting thing that has ever confronted you? Maybe you stepped in something. Maybe it was your child being extremely sick. Maybe it was that bag of fruit which you forgot about in the cupboard. Do you remember the most offensive thing you ever saw or heard? Something someone called someone else? A person defiling a grave or memorial? A particularly jarring and disturbing scene from a film?

When we are confronted by something disgusting and offensive, we naturally feel disgust and offence! The feelings we have about such things pale into insignificance, are but mere shadows, compared to the offence that God feels towards sin. God has a righteous, just, holy, perfect disgust at that which poisons and rots all that is good and beautiful. God cannot ignore sin. He cannot brush it under the carpet or put it in a bin, because the stench and horror of sin cannot be contained—it can only be obliterated, purged, cleansed, washed, and purified. Once we understand how terrible, offensive, and disgusting sin is, then we see that Hell is not unfair, it is not unjust; it is good. What is seemingly unfair and unjust is that any of us, sinners that we are, could ever be allowed to enter heaven and the presence of the holy God of perfect purity. But God is a God of justice and mercy. He is not only just but also merciful. Jesus taking all of our sin and filth and offensiveness on himself and taking the just punishment—death—we deserve is God’s answer to the ‘problem of evil’.  Our wickedness confronts God and he acts upon it. When we sin, we should rightly recognise the terrible thing we have done, but we should also thank God for his mercy and lovingkindness in giving us a Saviour named Jesus.

  • Adam Young is Associate Minister at All Saints' Church in North Ferriby, England, and Padre to the Yorkshire North & West Army Cadet Force. He has a Master in Applied Theology from Oxford University. In his spare time, he enjoys weightlifting, trail running, painting miniatures, and reading theology.