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Wednesday: An Angry, Restless Missionary — 11 Comments

  1. Jonah finally does the job he is asked to do. He preaches to the city and then sits and waits for the fireworks. When that does not happen, he does a dummy spit and blames God for not keeping his word. Right job, wrong reason!

    Getting a PhD is hard work. It takes a lot of time and effort and at the end of it you get a piece of paper with some fancy words on it and the title "Dr" that you can use instead of "Mr" or "Ms". And to be honest, that is why some people to the work. They like being called "Dr". The true value of a PhD is not the authority or adulation that it gives you, but rather the ability to do your job properly.

    Being a prophet is not a position of power, but rather one of responsibility. And while there were lessons for Jonah to learn from his experience, the story also has its allegoric application to the Israelites. They had been given responsibility and had continually turned away from that responsibility. Time after time God had performed miracles for them but they chose their own selfish way and in essence did a dummy spit when God allowed the neighbours to teach them a lesson.

    There is of course an application to us today. I don't think I need to spell it out to "God's Chosen People", the "Remnant Church", the "People of the Book" or the "Church of the Latter Rain".

    Responsibility rather the privileged status, helps us put our spirituality into perspective.

  2. Do you view God as authoritarian or authoritative? Based on Jesus revelation of God, we would conclude that God is actually authoritative (Matthew 7:29; Philippians 2:5-7; John 13:3-5).

    If you think about it, one of the key differences between authoritarian vs authoritative exercise of authority is that authoritarian is underpinned by insecurity. This insecurity drives the authoritarian person to need to 'weild' their authority in a manner that dominates others. Authoritative, on the other hand, comes from one who is genuinely secure in their authority and is therefore not threatened by others who may challenge them.

    Because of the absence of insecurity, an authoritative 'person' is freed to be compassionate. And God is not just compassionate, He is exceedingly-super-abundantly compassionate or omni-compassionate. According to the way Exodus 34:6,7 is written, compassionate is the foundational attribute of God from which all of the other attributes arise.

    And because God is omni-compassionate and secure, He is not threatened by someone being angry and sharing that anger with Him - even if that person is angry to the point of directing that anger toward Him or being angry about Him. God is not put off by the outward expression of anger because He sees the underpinning heart-cry (1 Samuel 16:7).

    I love God's compassionate response to Jonah. God listens to Jonah's authentic pouring out his pain and distress and frustration and then gently invites Jonah to stop and take some space to reflect more deeply the reason for his anger and to do so from a different perspective.

    To me, God's exceedingly-super-abundant compassion is the overarching theme of the book of Jonah: compassion towards those who were on the brink of being overthrown/perishing and compassion to a troubled prophet who 'had issues'*.

    And God in His compassion welcomes our approaching Him authentically with our experience and our brokenness. God wants us to feel safe in doing this because He wants to heal us from our brokenness and help sustain us in our journeying (Hebrews 4:15,16). God knows full well that life within a sin-infected world takes its toll upon us because we are (temporarily) living a world we were never designed or intended to live within.

    It is interesting to consider the point in Israel's sad history that Jonah lived - during the reign of Jeroboam II where there was significant political expansion but unfortunately correspondingly significant spiritual contraction. I suspect that Jonah was as good a prophet as was available at the time - which illustrates God's willingness to meet humanity where it is at and adapt accordingly. Another marker of exceedingly-abundant compassion.

  3. I hope everyone here, who has ever heard God's call to take an office in the church, witness to neighbor or work colleague, or share the gospel with an unbelieving family member, through the Holy Spirit working on your heart, convicting you to make a decision, and you have been hesitant because of the perceived consequences, you think might come. At the same time, you are worried that you may not be qualified to do it, or in your witness you are afraid you might say the wrong thing. You are fearful that they might not accept what you have to say. Even worse, you are afraid they might reject you.

    Here are a couple of things to remember:

    > First, God does not call the qualified; He qualifies those whom He calls.

    > Second, when God impresses you to do something and you accept His assignment, He takes upon Himself the responsibility for the results.


    God does not call us to "success". He calls us to faithfulness. If we are faithful to the task, He assigns us to do, one day, He will say, "MATT. 25:21 NKJV"

  4. I believe the principles I have learned from Jonah's experience are summed up in the Fruit of the Spirit:
    Firstly my heart is changed, I have love, joy and peace
    Secondly my attitude to others is patience, kindness and goodness, and
    Thirdly my relationship with the LORD is characterized by faithfulness, meekness and changed actions.

  5. Who can say what Jonah's problem was for certain, yet it is obvious that he was not happy with the outcome of the wicked city being spared by God. Did he harbor hatred for this city/nation? Had he been offended in some way by this people? At first he refused to go warn them of their danger, then was angry that the warning was effective in leading all those souls to repent and turn to the Lord, thus averting God's judgments at that time. Not difficult to realize that God was seeking to save Jonah from himself as well. Perhaps the lesson to learn is to search our own heart for any hatred of others, which may be nothing more than love of self. Those who love self above others will not have any part in the kingdom of God.

    All vengeance is to be left with God who is all-knowing, merciful, and just. Every soul on the earth is the offspring of Adam, who was created in the image of God, and God desires to save “to the uttermost” all who would be saved. Sometimes the spirit of revenge takes hold of those who call themselves followers of the Lamb, which must be purged from the character with all “ungodliness and worldly lust”(Titus 2:12).

    Isn't the answer for how to live a Godly life found in John 3:3? This takes place in all who “repent and believe the Gospel”.

  6. Prophets are people, too! However the cookie may have crumbled, so to speak, I still look at Jonah as being more upset with God's 'repentance of the evil that he had said he would do unto them' and Nineveh therefore getting a pass - Jonah3:10KJV. 
    To me it appears that the prophet Jonah himself was not willing to forgive and be happy with them to have avoided their calamity by returning to God's ways - 'they turned from their evil way'. This sounds like the older son who does not want to forgive his wayward brother when he sees him reinstated as heir in their father's house - Luke15:28. 

    I consider our heavenly Father to be like a loving father who teaches His children lessons to grow by/through/from - some learn by hearing, some learn by being shown; Jonah and the Ninevit's are no exception.
    In the context of this story, I see Jonah needing to learn humility, empathy, and unity with God's will and see this in the Father's question: ". Doest thou well to be angry ? In other words, 'is it right for you to be angry with me or the Ninevit's'? Though Jonah was well established in his Father's house, it appears that he still needed to do some soul-searching himself. 

    True forgiveness is God's powerful 'fire-starter-log'; once we allow Him to kindle it by His Mercy and Grace, the love of God will begin again to warm our relationship with our fellow man.

  7. I love how God offers his people second chances, for them to experience and learn his forgiving nature and compassionate character.

    Isaiah 1:18 "Come now let us reason together" Says the Lord, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.

    2 chronicles 7:14 if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then i will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Amen.

  8. In answer to the last question, we can't learn to have the compassion and patience God has. If we could learn it, we would be God. The only answer is to surrender to God's love and patience, let it fill us, and let Him shine out. There is no other way.


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