HomeDailyWednesday: Our Excuses: Uncomfortable Confrontations    


Wednesday: Our Excuses: Uncomfortable Confrontations — 20 Comments

  1. Part of Jonah's problem was he thought that teaching the citizens of Nineveh that they were in hot water was God's problem, not his. Why on earth did God want him to go to Nineveh? In his conversation with God after the event, or from Jonah's perspective, non-event, he reminded God that:

    for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. Jonah 4:2

    But, God reminded Jonah with the parable of the gourd that sitting back and doing nothing was not an option in God's kingdom. We have a share in the work of spreading the word of God.

    And just how often do we pray for God to send his Holy Spirit to do this and that among those who need to hear and see the Gospel in action? The Holy Spirit needs our arms and legs to take action. It needs our ears to listen. It needs our lips to talk. It needs our brains to think and reason.

    God's work is our work.

    The big picture lesson of the book of Jonah is that "God's Chosen Nation" was more interested in building their own reputation than sharing the message with the nations around them.

    • When it comes to being "chosen", I heed King Jesus' words in Matthew 22:14 KJV :

      "For many be called, but few are chosen."

      Ensure that you are wearing the "wedding garment" of The Holy Spirit before you embark on any sort of mission.

  2. ...his worldview was being shaken to the core, and Jonah would rather die than allow his world to be turned upside down.

    Powerful lesson today! Here's a thought.... We all have a literal world "view" of destruction and death because that is all we have all viewed with our eyes. It's natural law. All that lives must one day die. We read that "the creation was subjected to futility" and suffers in "bondage to corruption" (Romans 8:20-21). The wonders God created are soaked and smothered in sin that symptoms as decay and ending. So for Jonah to default to destruction mode was natural. We all expect the ending of death. Many may even start anticipating it at a certain age. Maybe too many WANT to die, along with Jonah. If people see their own life as meaningless and meant for termination, why not view the lives of "difficult others" as ending in death too, ...with a twist of justice?

    When the shady vine died, then with all his heart Jonah wished for the vine to remain alive. In that ridiculous moment ... ridiculous and we've all been there, putting some trivial thing we're absorbed with above the worth of human life around us ....God provided Jonah with a flash of reality: "living" is the way it's supposed to be. Not dying. "See, you actually want 'living'!"

    Dying is the distorted end to a distorted worldview. The wages of separation from God in the thoughts and heart becomes eternal separation from God in physical reality. Our God is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29), not because God wants destruction, but because sin and holiness don't mix. To be consumed into oblivion by God's holiness, that's a human choice, not God's wish. In Matt 21:44, Jesus shows us that we all must be consumed by God in one way or another because God's not going to keep remaining distant from us...break down and surrender to God's intimacy, or be finally broken by Him when He removes the shields of grace from His Presence.

    God's worldview is living. God's worldview is resurrection. God's worldview is restoration. God's worldview is turning all creation back into "very good". A glorious God wants to glorify every single human. God does not expect death of us....He expects, and makes every effort, for us to choose life. Like Jonah, we don't even have the energy to choose life. Giving us the faith to envision, and believe in, and be eager for (Rom. 8:19), a world apart from death and destruction, even for so-called enemies...It's all God's work.

    • Thank you once again Esther 🙂

      The Reward: Eternal Presence with God
      "And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken", King Jesus in Matthew 21:44 KJV & "and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." Ecclesiastes 12:7 KJV

      The Damnation: Eternal Separation from God
      "But on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder", King Jesus in Matthew 21:44 KJV & "then shall the dust return to the earth as it was." Ecclesiastes 12:7 KJV

  3. I believe that uncomfortable confrontations put us out of our comfort zone and it is easy to surcome, if we don't heed the words of Christ to His disciples, "shake the dust off your feet, if they do not recieve your word". I believe Christ is not talking give upon people. He is encouraging us to refrain from being daunted with rejection, but rather rejoice that we have fed His lambs. All are worthy of being given an opertunity to hear of the Gospel of Christ. We will be undaunted, if we heed Christ words.
    Matthew 10:14.

    • King Jesus goes on in Matthew 10:15 KJV to say: "Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."

      You have done your part. They have not rejected you, they have rejected The Holy Ghost residing in you & therefore they have rejected Him who sent you: King Jesus.

      They have eliminated themselves from entry into His kingdom. It is tantamount to His words in Matthew 12:31 KJV.

  4. Patience distinguishes God's servants.
    A sister from our church was giving Bible studies for a boy who drank a lot. When she was in the tenth study, she asked: Do you intend to be baptized? He replied: No... I just want to see the studies.
    Do you know what she did? She sent him to hell and abandoned the studies.
    "No, I don't want to waste time with a drunk with no future”, she said.
    She played the role of a modern Jonas, with no patience for so-called “difficult cases”.
    May God help us in this task.

  5. I find this discussion interesting. We all have felt like Jonah at some point when all we wanted was to see the destruction of people we don't like, or people that have caused pain in our lives.

  6. Jonah's deep hatred of the Assyrians seem to have overshadowed his knowledge of who God is. He cannot really deny who God is, because he has experienced God's goodness and mercy first hand, but He doesn't want that mercy to be extended to the Ninevites because in his mind they are not deserving of it. What he fails to see, in his angst that God would think to pardon the Ninevites, is how unworthy he is of receiving the grace and mercy God has extended to him.

    The author poses a very important question in the lesson, that each of us as Christian believers need to consider - " What will we do about God’s concern for the wicked, for the bullies, for the unreached across the globe?

    From my perspective, the first thing we must come to grips with is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. As the saying goes, the ground at the foot of the cross is level. In God's sight we all have trangressed His law, and on Jesus was laid the iniquity of us all. If we love the Lord as we say we do, then we too would have a burden for souls who are lost and need to find/know the compassionate loving care, and saving grace of the Savior. As Christians we must take up the burden of Christ (the salvation of mankind) and do our part, as He empowers and directs us.

  7. When we confront people on spiritual matters, it makes us vulnerable to spiritual attack. We really need to be aware of our weakness, not naive. We need a spirit of intercession every time we take up a duty of confrontation, for God's glory and for His cause.

  8. I feel a bit reluctant to comment on this week’s lesson topic – ‘Excuses to avoid mission’ because I believe that ‘mission’ starts in one's own heart at home. When I put myself into the shoes of someone considering to participate as a missionary in an official capacity, what came to mind is that ‘mission’ is all ‘organized’.
    I came to join the 7th Day Adventist family after participating in a Prophecy Seminar, though it was the people I met who introduced me to the message who impressed me with their sincerity and willingness to ‘help me learn and understand’.

    Nowadays, most missionaries do not go out by themselves as the Apostles did, having nothing more to support them than their zeal and conviction that hearing the Word of God brings Salvation. And let us not forget that most of them who go out into foreign lands are called by the Holy Spirit to do so first, and confirmed by the leadership of their peers to make sure they are a good ‘fit’ for the ‘mission project’.

    So - where then would there be room for ‘reluctance’? It most likely could be found in those who support the mission work indirectly through their offerings and prayers, through the organized fundraising efforts to support those at the frontlines. Reluctance could also be found when asked to heartily support some kind of ‘home-mission’ aimed at reaching those living in the community who would also benefit from hearing the Word of God from a friendly soul.

    Personally, I would support helping establish an ongoing ‘Prophecy Seminar’ as part of the weekly church-agenda. Maybe Wednesday evenings would be a good time - prayer meeting, Prophecy Seminar. A standing invitation is made to all in the community to join at any time; supportive material to take home would be made available, and conversations about any topic could go on afterwards.
    Maybe a cloth-closet and food pantry distribution could be organized to take place afteward. So, during two or three hours every Wednesday evening, members of the church family could participate personally in this outreach opportunity in various ways. It would be a blessing to all who get involved! 😊

  9. One more thought about uncomfortable conversations. Tomorrow I'm planning to meet my best friend of 26 years. She's not a believer in Jesus as Savior, and neither was I for most of those years. Now I long to tell her about Him. I've been telling her in gentle snippets. It's uncomfortable. She likes to hear Bible stories, but I feel her resistance to "Christian culture" .... or maybe I'm uncomfortable with the "Christian culture". Christ has been misrepresented so often by Christians, including myself. Also, I am uncomfortable with telling the part about how there IS sin in the world, and Satan, and a spiritual war going on. It sounds so "conspiracy theorist". So black or white. So "my way or the highway".

    A story from Paul's evangelism is an encouragement to me. Paul was on trial before Festus and King Agrippa. Paul started by asking the king to listen to him patiently (Acts 26:2-3). Ok, not hard, Agrippa wanted to do just that. He was curious what all the uproar was about someone claiming that a dead prophet had resurrected. So what if someone has delusions. Paul began his testimony, telling how he had been hunting Christians until Jesus spoke to him and showed He is alive (Acts 26:4-23). Festus interrupted by yelling that Paul was out of his mind (Acts 26:24).

    Paul answers this accusation with not more meekness, but more boldness. He says, "King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe." (Acts 26:25-27). Paul put the king on the spot to choose for Christ. He spoke plainly, courteously, and directly. The king was probably shocked, and asked in wonder, "In a short time you would persuade me to be a Christian?" (Acts 26:28).

    Paul answers, "Whether short (time) or long (time), I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become Christians like me." (Acts 26:29).

    Wow. Just wow. Sometimes we have a lot of time to create trust of relationship for someone to hear the gospel message from us. And sometimes we have only that moment to tell saving truth. Jonah was to walk down into Ninevah and be direct and bold and tell about sin and repentance right away. I've heard this called "drive-by evangelism". It feels foolish and uncomfortable to talk about this unseen world we believe in. "Your daughter is struggling with depression. She needs Jesus", is what I need to tell my best friend. "You're so tired of trying to save everyone. You need Jesus too."

    Jesus went right for this artery in conversation with Nicodemus. Didn't get caught up in friendly openers and assessments about how powerful His miracles were (John 3:2), but said pointedly, "You must be born again....You're a teacher of religion, don't you know this?" (John 3:3,10). Urgent message. No time to waste. Vulnerable. Risky...might turn someone off. Awkward!

    If Jesus is really so important to me, ....and He IS what matters most to me....shouldn't I be able to talk about Him? Be discerning about receptivity, ok, but so much more confident in the power of God to speak through my weakness. I'm praying to live out Romans 1:16.

    • My first ever verse was: "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." (1John 4:8 KJV)

      Most people want to love others and be loved by others, but don't realise that love starts within: "Love thy neighbour as thyself.", King Jesus in Matthew 22:39 KJV.

      This love within us is instilled only by Him through humility (King Jesus' words in Matthew 11:29 KJV).

      My suggestion to you is to continue to be patient & God will work through you.

    • Esther, all of the instances you cite are evidence of the Spirit leading into all Truth. That is why the Spirit of Christ and of God is essential to accomplish the work of the Gospel. What is God calling each of us to think, to say and to do in the moment in which we are living as we work to reveal his character to those God has put in our lives? That is the question and the matter for practice. Practical Christianity is practising Christianity.

      The apostle Paul became competent in serving God because he was willing to learn from the Spirit in the school of Christ and to apply the Spirit's knowledge and training in his everyday experience. Did he make mistakes and have failures? Of course. But that is the nature of the experimental religion to which God calls us. This is how our faith is perfected.

      Thank you for your words that encourage all of us to follow the way, the truth and the life that are in Christ.

  10. I see Jonah and his waiting to see God destroy Nineveh and wishing to die because God would not do his as Elijah when God confronted him and also asked Elijah twice what he was doing there and Elijah responds very similarly to Jonah in wishing to die because he had not done better than his previous leaders of his nation of Israel to where he thought he was the only one left etc. But God assures Elijah "With His still small voice," that he is not the only one left and then goes on to give him the job of giving his own job, as prophet, to Elisha.

  11. Consequence and repentance may be just the logical drive to offer in preaching to an idolater! But God is so perfect that while preaching, not only can He convince the receiver of His message, but also, more significantly, the messenger can be genuinely convinced. I may deal with prejudice from the time I wake up until the time I go to sleep because I can have pride as my idol. Ego gets in the way of humans all the time. Let us submit ourselves to God entirely and learn from Him about His Love.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>