When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
The Threat of Destruction
It’s terrifying to face the threat of destruction and death from the almighty, holy, one true God. The people of Nineveh faced this. They believed God was serious about his threat against them. They grasped the fact that they had fallen under the judgment of God because of their sinfulness. Even with their great military prowess, they could not defend themselves against God. So they turned to him and sought his mercy to be spared from destruction.
And what good news we read next! “God had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.” The heart of God overflows with compassion toward people. “As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live” (Ezekiel 33:11).
Mindful of our sinfulness, we confess that we have failed to live according to God’s holy will. For this reason, we deserve death and destruction for our offenses against God. We acknowledge that we have no ability on our own to free ourselves from God’s just punishment. Our only hope is that he would have mercy on us.
The good news is that he does! “Because of the LORD‘s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail” (Lamentations 3:22). In love and compassion for us, God laid the guilt of our sin on his Son, Jesus, and punished him in our place. He freed us from eternal death and destruction in hell. Through Jesus, we have peace with God. His favor rests on us, and by faith in our Savior, we live in the joy of the salvation that he accomplished for us.
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, LORD, even as we put our hope in you. Amen.