God’s Faithful When We’re Unfaithful

Sometimes when we read a book of the Bible we forget that God is the main character of every verse and every chapter. When we do this, we can miss out on seeing how wonderful and how beautiful God is. Take the book of Jonah, for example, which is a book about God’s faithfulness.

The book of Jonah begins with God calling Jonah to go to Nineveh to deliver a message. Nineveh was the great city of the Assyrians, the biggest enemy of the Israelites. They wiped the northern kingdom of Israel off the map and carried them into captivity. However, the theme of the book of Jonah is that God had compassion on the Assyrians. Despite their sin, he still loved them, and in the first few verses he sent Jonah to rescue them:

“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.’ But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.” (Jonah 1:1-3, ESV)

We see very quickly in this passage that Jonah didn’t share God’s compassion for Nineveh. He immediately boarded a ship heading in the opposite direction. In Hebrew, Jonah’s name means “dove.” A dove is known for their flight pattern, which is considered silly and senseless. This accurately describes Jonah. Jonah’s last name, son of Amittai, means “my faithfulness.” When we read the story closely, we realize this accurately describes Jonah as well. He’s still the object of God’s faithful love despite his unfaithfulness.

In what ways have you been unfaithful to God? Just as God had compassion on Nineveh, he had compassion on us when he sent Christ to die on the cross for our sins. Despite our unfaithfulness to him, we are still the object of God’s faithful love. When we live our lives with this in mind, it changes everything. It makes us want to be more faithful to God because he is so faithful to us. In short, it makes us want to be the men and women he created us to be.

Spend time praising God and thanking him for his faithfulness. Confess any sin these verses bring to mind, and make a commitment to be faithful to God. We were once enemies like the Assyrians, but God put “Jonahs” into our lives to tell us about his great love. If it weren’t for God taking initiative to come after us, we would have never found his true love. Be faithful to God because God is faithful. He’s always faithful to us!



photo credit: oscartian547 flowers via photopin (license)

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About Chad Young

Chad Young works in full-time college ministry, serving as Cru Global’s national director over the southeast region, leading the ministries in FL, GA, AL, and MS. He has served on the staff of Cru for fifteen years. He is the author of Authenticity: Real Faith in a Phony, Superficial World (InterVarsity Press), a discipleship-training manual, and magazine articles for Worldwide Challenge and The Collegiate. He frequently speaks at retreats and conferences and regularly writes devotionals for his website, Chad, with his wife Elizabeth, travels the country to speak at churches and train church leaders how to make Biblical disciples. Chad currently resides in Atlanta, GA, with his wife Elizabeth and their four young children, Wyatt, Clark, Evelyn, and Josilynn. His hobbies include cheering on his kids in sports, following college football, and laughing with family around the backyard fire pit.
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