God's Last, Best Word

John Koedyker

READ : Jonah 4:10-11

And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city . . . ? (v. 11)

The last word in this brief Old Testament prophecy belongs to God, not Jonah. That is the way it always has been and that is the way it always will be. As the hymn writer puts it, “This is my Father’s world.” He made it and it is his prerogative to have the final say. It is God’s privilege to speak with finality on every issue.

Although God insists on having the last word with Jonah, he exercises it without being harsh and dictatorial. God’s tone is kind and winsome. He deals with Jonah gently in the hopes that the would-be prophet still might have a merciful change of heart.

Did he? We don’t know. The book ends rather abruptly. But the artist Michelangelo, in his magnificent painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, depicts Jonah with a countenance far more radiant than anyone else. He obviously believed the once runaway prophet eventually did come to share God’s attitude of mercy and grace. I like what Lloyd John Ogilvie says about the ending of Jonah: what we do know is that our own portrait is not yet finished. How that turns out depends on the mercy we receive, and give away, in our own Ninevehs.

PRAYER

Thank you, Lord, for your last, best word—our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.