Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Everybody knows about Jonah. His claim to fame was his escapade with a great fish that swallowed him whole when he tried to sneak out of going to Nineveh to warn the people of God's destructive might aimed their direction. THEN we know he prayed for forgiveness and said he would go to Nineveh if God would let him out of that fish. He did. And Jonah went! He delivered his message and told them the city would be destroyed in 40 days. And the Bible says that the Ninevites believed God! They put on sackcloth and the king proclaimed a fast, hoping God would see their repentance and change his mind. And God did. And they all lived happily ever after!
Ok, not quite. Our friend Jonah still wanted the Ninevites to be destroyed. Jonah 4:1-3 says, "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.'" Yes, folks it's ok to roll your eyes at this silly little speech. But God just said, "Have you any right to be angry?" Then Jonah went a ways off from the city and waited to see what would happen. But it's pretty hot there. I think he was probably one of those people who don't like extreme temperatures like my mom. Basically, God's assessed the situation in Nineveh, and had decided to spare the city, and had pretty much said as much to Jonah. But this stubborn prophet is waiting for God to blow people to bits just because he doesn't like them. This guy is THICK-SKULLED!!!! But God made a vine grow over him for some shade while he's waiting for something bad to happen to people!!!!!!! Jonah was happy with that, but during the night, God killed the weed. Then Jonah got so mad he wanted to die again! This guy is acts like a toddler through the whole book. He definitely doesn't come close to being a Samuel or a Moses!!!! But over and over, God showed love to Jonah. If it's a father showing love to a whiny baby, we know that the father loves that baby as something that is his own, and can still love the baby even with some screaming. When I see God in the Bible showing love to King David or one of those great people, it's almost like they deserve it. Or at least they didn't do anything that we know of to NOT deserve it. But it wows me that God shows the same love to Jonah, the whiny prophet who would do anything to get out of a little thing like so many of us, as he showed to great kings and messengers who went through thick and thin to do what He wanted. With all this love God shows us when we whine every day, don't you think HE deserves to at least get a heartfelt attempt at obedience?