Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Jonah 4:7-9

v. 7-9  "But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered.  When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint.  He wanted to die, and said, 'It would be better for me to die than to live.'  But God said to Jonah, 'Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?'  'I do,' he said.  'I am angry enough to die.'"

We are so happy when we get what we want.  God provides for our needs, yet He can take something away from us at any moment.  I think that when we push God away He has no obligation to keep blessing us.  It is not that He doesn't want to help us, He doesn't want to encourage bad or sinful behavior.  Jonah went through a painful realignment, which could have been avoided if he made better choices.

The worm that God sent might have started at the base of the plant.  When we let the enemy in he often will not mess with the outer layers of our soul, he will go to the roots, down deep because he knows that if he can get us away from God, going to the source of our belief is his best chance.  Did Jonah know the reason the plant withered at first?  I don't know, but he must have been so frustrated that again he was in a miserable situation.  All the while he was focusing on outward issues when he should have been working on his heart and mind.  Our perception of reality is sometimes an illusion brought on by a reflection in a warped mirror to make everything appear in our favor, even if we are sorely mistaken.

Priscilla Shirer talks about how God used a specific plant that would be large enough that it would provide shade, God kept animals from harming Jonah and the wind came from the east which meant that he could not have been protected from the city walls.  She also said that God was strategic with the details that He used to carry out His divine purpose.

The worm, the sun and the wind all came one after the other.  Many times in life when one bad thing happens there is a landslide of other things that come charging at us and we feel like we won't make it through this moment.  This is where we are tested.  Yes, God does test us, but He will not tempt us.  So between God's testing, attacks from the enemy, the choices we make and the actions of others we often feel that we will not make it through to the other side.

God again showed grace to Jonah and again Jonah was unable to give grace to Nineveh.  He had plenty of opportunities, yet he could not let go of his anger.  We will be held back when we keep things from God and do not turn them over to Him.  He is more than capable to take care of the anger, sadness and pain in our lives.  God's grace is given to you, will you extend that grace to others?  Not one of us deserves grace, not one of us can even come close.  God freely gives us a wonderful gift and in return we are to give that gift away to other people.

When I wrote a post about Jonah 2:10, where God made the fish spit Jonah out onto land.  I received an interesting comment that said that I made God sound like an abuser and that this person would cut out someone from their life if they were treated this way.  I can see how some view God in this light.  Many preachers have preached the fire and brimstone theory, where you will never be good enough and you are probably going to hell.  The only thing right about this is that we are not good enough, that is where God's grace comes in and covers us.  If this person has been hurt by some one who says they are a Christian then that just reinforces the view that God is mean.  Do I get mad when I receive a comment like that?  No, I think that we should see past the actions of others and see their hearts.  This person doesn't sound like they believe, yet they were brought to my blog for a reason.  My goal is to share God's word and share my Bible study notes, not misrepresent Him.  If no one else needed this then I definitely do because I am in need daily of His word.  I thought it was very interesting that this person saw a mean God and not a disobedient person who received an action for defiance.  The enemy likes to try to disguise discipline from God as if it were punishment so that God looks like He is mean instead of a caring Father.

Everyone looks at the Bible a little differently due to our life experiences, views from our family growing up and where we are at in our walk with God.  Yes, God can be angry and discipline us when we are not in His will.  The ENTIRE Bible shows that He is waiting for us to turn to Him.  His love has no limit and He is happy to bless us, if only we will turn towards Him.  I wonder if this person who sees God in such an unfavorable light can see throughout the Bible how many times the people turned from Him.  If there were not such disobedience then the Bible might be a whole lot shorter, but then we wouldn't see ourselves in the colorful characters that are spread out among the pages of this book.

Again Jonah wanted to die, when he doesn't get his way he either runs away or wants to die.  This makes for a very unhappy spiritual life.  He is our example of what not to do, we should not let our feelings rule us.  Again God asked if Jonah had a right to be angry about his circumstances.  We may never be in Jonah's exact situation, but how many times a day do we get mad because people are being slow, traffic is backed up, someone unleashed an emotional mess in our direction or our kids are having a meltdown when we are trying to leave the house.  Friends, this is a heart check.

Are you mad right now at someone or something that happened to you that you can not give to God?  I pray that we all will turn everything over to God and that nothing will get in the way of our relationship with Him.

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