Our Bible studies at Calvary Baptist Church have taken us into Jonah several times where we’ve been considering how Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale. Note that in Chapter 1 Jonah ended up in what he called the “belly of hell” [Ch 2:2] and in Matthew 12:40 Jesus referred to “Jonas in the whale’s belly” as a prefigure of himself three days and three nights in the earth. Which begs the question “was Jonah dead or alive”? Note also in [Ch 2:6] God can hear prayers from the darkest hell! In [Ch 2:9] notice where Salvation is exclusively “of the Lord” and NOT from other religions. From there let us consider [Ch 2:10] that Jonah found mercy! Amen! God is a God of Mercy! [2 Pet 3:9] “…Not willing that any should perish…but that all should come to repentance”. I wish some preachers would quit trying to redefine any and all! Anyway, Jonah found mercy! Are we all agreed on that? Yet notice that after he went and preached, the people of Nineveh did what many unstudied pastors say isn’t necessary – they begged God for mercy and turned from their wickedness! By the way that’s lost men and women begging God for mercy and turning from their wickedness. Dead in trespasses and sins has never meant too dead to beg God for mercy and turn from your wicked ways. Perhaps you’re wondering why the people of Nineveh did this when God had already said He was going to destroy them? Turn to the words of the King of Nineveh in Jonah 3:9 “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” Ahh yes! Now that’s good advice! Maybe you are in a horrible mess! Maybe you’re in the middle of a nightmare! Maybe you’ve all but begged God to deal with your rebellious attitude. I don’t know about you, but this King’s words encourage me! Change your ways! Humble yourself before God and just maybe He’ll reach down and lift you out of that pit you’re in. Maybe the great God of second chances will take pity on you! In Jonah 3:10 God saw their works which demonstrated their seriousness about seeking mercy and He didn’t destroy them. Praise God for mercy! Jonah is a crash course on MERCY! It’s the advanced level class on digging your own pit no doubt, but it’s also a crash course on Mercy. Let’s read ch 4:1 and notice Jonah was outraged that God spared Nineveh. Wow?! Outraged that someone got mercy?! Are you kidding? How can a man go through what Jonah went through and find the sea of God’s mercy but still not have any mercy for others? We find the word mercy 261 times in the Bible. Isn’t it just like a man to be so one sided? We expect mercy for our self but chastisement for others. God expects us to use mercy toward our fellow man. I wish it weren’t so but let me remind you that Jonah never did get his heart straightened out. His last recorded words to God concerning Nineveh were “I do well to be angry, even unto death”. God help us to remember to be merciful even when it isn’t deserved! For that is where God extended mercy to us!! This is pastor Malcolm Harrison inviting you to come visit with us at Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine on the loop across from Pizza Hut.