I had an enjoyable day. I went to a minister’s luncheon with Pastor Steve and was able to connect with several friends once again. I needed to go to the fitness center to work off my barbecue lunch, but gave in to “food coma” and took a nap.
Later this afternoon I had a meeting with CSU President Tony Frank concerning some campus ministry issues. It was a good conversation and I appreciated his openness and receptivity to my concerns.
BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. The Lord said to him [Jonah], “This plant grew up in one night and disappeared the next; you didn’t do anything for it and you didn’t make it grow—yet you feel sorry for it! How much more, then, should I have pity on Nineveh, that great city….” Jonah 4:10-11
I was reading the Book of Jonah this morning and then I noticed an interesting FaceBook post from a friend. She said her little girl was being punished and was laying next to her. The little girl said, “I’m just like Jonah, I disobeyed, but now I am ready to be good and obey.”
Jonah had a difficult time “getting on the same page” as God. But God was insistent on using Jonah and teaching him and us today an important lesson. God sent him to Nineveh the capital city of their arch-enemy. Jonah would rather have God judge them, then to call them to repentance. He was running as far away from Nineveh as he could get and then got an express return trip via a big fish to the shores of Nineveh.
In Jonah’s prayer he recognizes that he had been brought back to life from death. (Jonah 2:6,7) And then affirms as it were his prophetic call and purpose. “But I will sing praises to you; I will offer you a sacrifice and do what I have promised. Salvation comes from the Lord!” (Jonah 2:9)
Jonah preaches, the people repent and Jonah is upset. Jonah was waiting for God’s judgment to come but instead God was merciful in response to the people’s repentance from the King to the paupers. It is interesting that Jonah’s anger stems from the consistency of God’s character. “That’s why I did my best to run away to Spain! I knew that you are a loving and merciful God, always patient, always kind, and always ready to change your mind and not punish.” (Jonah 4:2)
What is noteworthy in the story of Jonah is God’s concern for all people. His love and mercy is just not extended to “His people” but all people. He is the Lord of all the earth. I was reading the first three chapters of Amos and noticed the Lord’s judgment being spoken against the nations of the day. There may be many “gods” but there is only one “Lord God” of all the earth.
We can also see that our understanding of God’s plan and purpose is often far different from God’s. It is interesting that Jonah did not call people to repentance, he just pronounced judgment. In response to impending judgment, the people fasted and mourned. God responded and stayed His hand of judgment.
Jonah realized in the belly of the fish, he had been brought back from death to life, that salvation comes from the Lord and that is what happen to the people of Nineveh; that is what happens to us when we turn to the Lord.
Who do you relate to in the story of Jonah? Like Jonah, do you question and become upset when God does or does not do some things that you expect. You will always find Him true to His character.
Do you relate to the people of Nineveh? Perhaps you feel too distant, too removed from the Lord, and forgotten by Him. Psalms declares, “a broken and contrite heart you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) The Lord stands ready to extend forgiveness, grace and mercy to those who ask for it.