Getting What You Deserve

Laura N. Sweet

Read: Jonah 2

Then I said, “I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.” (v. 4)

Have you ever heard someone say, “All I want is what’s coming to me!” Our frustration levels rise when we feel we are being cheated out of something we deserve. We demand our rights—assuming that “what we deserve” is going to be a good thing. Maybe that’s a wrong assumption!

Take Jonah, for example. He really did get what he deserved! Jonah not only disobeyed God’s direct command to go to Nineveh to pronounce God’s judgment—he ran in the opposite direction. When the fierce storm threatened the ship on which he was sailing, Jonah asked the sailors to throw him overboard! Jonah deserved to be exactly where he was: in a fish’s belly in the deep blue sea, without hope of deliverance.

And yet—Jonah did have hope. He called out to God for salvation. Surrounded by water, with seaweed wrapped around his head, he still believed that “I shall again look upon your holy temple” (v. 4). Jonah wasn’t asking for something he deserved; he was asking for mercy and grace—which no one deserves. God responded to Jonah’s repentance and plea for help by causing the fish to vomit him out on dry land. No wonder Jonah declared “Salvation belongs to the LORD!” (v. 9).

Let’s not look for what’s coming to us. Let’s seek God’s mercy instead—a gift from God that no one deserves, but God promises to show his people. —Laura N. Sweet

As you pray, thank God for his mercy and grace, which you could never deserve.