God is patient. He holds off judgment as long as possible, often longer than the victims would like.
Jonah didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he was afraid; he didn’t want to go there because he knew God would forgive them. Nineveh was Israel’s enemy. Jonah wanted them toasted. Jonah knew God would forgive them, so he tried to run away.
God is patient, long-suffering, slow to anger, and willing to forgive.
Now, that’s an interesting thing to consider in light of Ecclesiastes 8:11:
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.
God’s delay in judging sin, especially so in our “age of grace,” actually encourages people to sin.
It was even this way under the Law though. Observe Psalm 50:21
These things hast thou done, and I [God] kept silence; thou thoughtest that I [God] was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.
Not only are we emboldened to sin, we change our view of God. Since God isn’t stopping me in my sin, God must not have a problem with it! Hey, cool! God is just like us!
We let His patience trick us into thinking He approves of us and has similar likings. This is not true.
However, in a different light, when God was nailing people with judgment quite regularly during the 40-years wandering, people seemed to fit sin into their schedule quite easily then too.
Quite frankly, God can’t win. It’s why He’s going to make a New Heaven and a New Earth. We’re really messed up.
Part of the plan of the ages is to show that no matter what God does, the heart of man is set on evil continually. We are horrible people. We have a great God. He’s provided what we need to get our act in order. I suggest we get busy there.