Today’s devotion is based on Sunday’s Message: Grace Relents (LISTEN HERE).
Jonah 3:6 When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
Would the outcome of Nineveh had that same effect without the leadership of the king?
John Maxwell, a leadership guru, has made the claim, “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” We’d be hard pressed to challenge this premise. As the leader goes, so goes the people.
The leadership of the king in bringing about the repentance of the city of Nineveh can’t be underestimated. Consider his other actions. He could have condemned Jonah and anyone who listened to him. He could have been passively supportive, but never engaged himself. And the outcome no doubt would have been different.
How much the king of Nineveh knew about the God Jonah proclaimed we don’t know for sure, but we know he understood the justice of God and that the deeds of the city of Nineveh deserved the wrath of God. He doesn’t justify the behavior. He doesn’t make his people into victims of circumstances. He simply encourages and directs the people to give up their evil ways and violence.
He understood something about the grace of God as he appealed to his compassion that would lead him to turn from his fierce anger and spare them. Without saying it, he recognized that Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Jonah 3:10 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 repentance of the people did not go unnoticed by the Lord. He not only saw a change of behavior, he saw a change of heart and did not treat the city as their sins deserved.
Godly leadership is a blessing wherever it shows up. This past weekend we marked Fathers’ Day. Godly dads doing their best to lead under the leadership of Christ provide guidance in the boundaries of God, call to repentance when the will of God is broken, and model the compassion of God that forgives and restores. The influence of a godly father in the home is vital. Statistically the spiritual climate of the home is directed by the spiritual activity of a father. Mom’s are working hard when dads are absent…but dad’s, don’t make mom’s go it alone. Step up to the role that God in his grace has given you to a) be directed by the grace of God yourself and b) direct your family to know, love and live in the grace of God together. There is only one legacy that will last and that is the legacy of faith that prevails after life on this world ends.
To be sure, godly leadership is a blessing wherever it shows up. To the extent that you have influence in someone’s life, you have leadership opportunity. Take the example of the king of Nineveh and guide people away from sin to the compassionate grace of the Lord who loves and cares for them deeply.
Apply: Where do you have an opportunity to show godly leadership today? With God’s help, go for it!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for leading me to know and love you. Use me in whatever leadership roles you place me to be an influence for your love and grace. AMEN.