Thursday, April 3, 2014

Jonah 4:1-3

v. 1-3 "But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.  He prayed to the Lord, 'O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home?  That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish.  I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.  Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.'"

God does not need our approval to do His will, He is perfectly capable of handling a situation without our opinion on the matter.

Jonah was acting like a child who didn't get what he wanted, but this example is not for our amusement.  The Bible is showing that we often follow the desires of our heart, instead of following God's will for our lives.  We may think that we would never do what Jonah did, but I think may of us have been in his shoes.  When someone betrays us and later receives God's mercy are we happy for them?  Do we wish they would get what they deserve?  Or think they are not as Christian as us?  We don't deserve His grace either, yet he gives it freely to us.  This is why this book is so powerful and often overlooked.  We should never wish ill will towards others because then we are just like Jonah.  God is not a genie or a puppet on strings.  We can not put Him in a box or conform Him to what we want Him to be, He is I AM.

Are you having a tantrum now because:
  • you didn't get what you think you deserve
  • or someone else got what you think they didn't deserve 
Both of these show our heart attitude.  Pride rules tantrums and only with humility will pride diminish.

Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh because he did not think these people deserved God's compassion and he was determined that he would have no part in the people having any favor with God.  Jonah knowing that God would show compassion on those that turn to Him must have inflicted Jonah with such anguish that the people would receive the same mercy that the people of Israel receive when they return to God.  When we hate others there is often a sense of pride involved, but wanting others to suffer and not receive the grace of God when they repent is selfish, prideful, cruel and arrogant.  I know this is a strong statement, but it's true.

Jonah was so despondent that he was ready to die.  God choose Jonah for a reason, he was able to follow God's command, eventually, but his heart was never in it.  This is such a profound moment in the Bible.  Jonah had finished the mission, yet he never fully gave all of himself over to God.  Jonah was thankful that God saved him from the fish, yet he could not be thankful that God could save Nineveh.  I think many of us walk through life with half-hearted faith.  Not only do we not have our hearts fully in it, but this means we won't experience the full blessings of God.  For many years this is what I did, but as I learn more I hope that I am growing more like Jesus every year.  Genesis 22:18 says "and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me."  The Jewish nation was to be a light for the rest of the world, yet they continued to turn away from God.  They did not want Gentiles to know God and many Christians are like this today unfortunately.

We may go to church, but neglect spending time with God at home on a daily basis.  We pick and choose the things we want out of the bible and ignore the things that are too hard or the things we don't agree with.  Following God is a difficult journey.  He asks things of us that will be hard to do: forgiveness to those who hurt us, don't give in to anger, don't gossip, tithe money back to God (many will never do this), to believe in something you can't see, to pray for things that may never happen while here on earth and to know that you will be attacked for the rest of your life by an enemy that wants nothing more than to destroy you.  Does this sound fun?  Yet when you experience God's love, you will gladly walk through this world battling every day because you know there is nothing better than to have God by your side.

When we wish other's to receive God's wrath we are only pushing ourselves closer to the flames.

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