Read Jonah 1:1-3

Katniss Everdeen has become a hero. She is a symbol for all that is good in a world that destroy enemies and oppresses those who cannot defend themselves. In “Mocking Jay” she searches for inspiration to become the hope that everyone wants her to be. She’s coming up empty, so she decides to go into a hospital and witness the horrors of those who have been recently attacked by the capitol. Spoiler alter – she gets more than she bargains for.

The capital sees her there and bombs the hospital, killing innocent and helpless people inside. This experience breaks her and gives her all the inspiration she needs. Hungry for justice, she screams a message to the capital, “Fire is catching, and if we burn you burn with us!” She cannot ignore the cries of her people any longer. The rebellion must happen, and it must be successful.

But what if there was a different narrative. What if there was a character that came to Katniss and asked her not to fight the capital, but instead, to forgive them and ask them to repent? Then you would be pretty close to the old testament story of Jonah and the Giant Fish.

Let’s talk about another great city. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria – a nation with a long history of brutality, war, and conquest; an empire that crushed the Northern Israelites in 722 B.C.E. and sent them into exile – never to be seen as a nation again. As an Israelite, this was a history Jonah knew all too well. He grew up with it. Nineveh had always been the enemy. This is what the prophet Nahum says about Nineveh:

Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and plunder – no end to the prey! The crack of the whip, and rumble of the wheel, galloping horse and bounding chariot! Horsemen charging, flashing sword and glittering spear, hosts of slain, heaps of corpses, dead bodies without end – they stumble over the bodies! Nahum 3:1-3

There is no doubt about it, Nineveh ,the capital city of Assyria, was a dark and wicked place. But there is a twist in the narrative. The surprise factor enters when we realize God is for Nineveh. This entire story is

about God’s unending love and determined pursuit of a city that is completely immoral and unjust. God wants Jonah to bring His message of love, grace, and repentance to Jonah’s very own enemies – the people that murdered his ancestors. It seems like an unbearable task for Jonah – to believe that God’s love extends even to those people, the enemy, AND to embrace the truth that God is concerned with what is happening outside of Israel, in the very darkest corner of the Earth.

No wonder he runs.

I believe this story points to a greater truth, one that involves all of us. If God is for Nineveh then God is for us. If God is concerned with the darkest corners of the Earth then He is concerned with our bitterness, our envy, and our hatred. He is concerned with the darkest corners of our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him. He is eager to lavish His grace on the undeserving, shameful, and horrifying places buried within us. He longs for our repentance.

Katniss Quote

You never forget the face of the person that is your last hope.


  1. Who are your enemies?
  2. How do you feel about extending God’s love to an enemy?
  3. How do you see Jesus loving His enemies?
  4. Where are your dark corner? Would you invite God into them by admitting you need His help?

Day 2 of 8 from the 2015 Mission Discovery Devotional