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Daily Thought - "the Jonah Inside Us All"

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Nov 1, 2012.

  1. The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish. – Jonah 1: 1-3 (NLT)

    Jonah; the reluctant prophet. I can relate to Jonah in so many ways, as I am sure many of us can. That is if we are honest with ourselves. The super-spiritual Christians will tell you that their walk is just one perfect agreement with the Lord after another, holding hands and whistling Amazing Grace until the second coming. There is no such thing of course as a super-spiritual Christian; just some who are less honest with themselves than others. I am but a sinner saved by grace. As my pastor likes to say – this is just dirt talking to dirt. The glorious thing about admitting your frailties is that you are more honest to spot them and more willing to talk about them. So I can tell you when I read the key verses, which come from the beginning of the story of Jonah, I can see a lot of me.

    Sometimes, I simply think I know better than the Lord. I do not mean in some conscious conversation with myself, where I actually have to say it like that. I mean through my actions, I clearly must think I know better since I find myself often on the wrong side of a decision. That is where Jonah finds himself eventually too. God shows us however the point of that decision. God gives him a direct order. Go and preach repentance to the city ofNineveh. You may be saying to yourself that God doesn’t give you such direct orders but you would be mistaken. His entire Word is a direct order about how we are supposed to live our lives, treat other people, and interact with Him. When we find ourselves in opposition to His Word we are just like Jonah here who obviously thought he knew better.

    Jonah had a reason to think he knew better beloved.Ninevehwas the capital city of the Assyrian Empire. They were known for their sheer ruthlessness. They often killed and tortured the Jewish people as well. Jonah had complete disdain and hatred for them so when God tells him to go preach repentance to them, you can imagine the shocked horror. Jonah wanted no part of it and as the key verses say – he runs in the opposite direction of where God wanted him to go. How many times have we found ourselves there? Heading in the opposite direction of where God wanted us to go. As stubborn as we can tend to be, it would be so much easier if we simply listened and obeyed because God is above our level of thinking:

    “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. – Isaiah 55: 8-9 (NLT)

    Beyond anything we can imagine! Realize that God is writing a grand story beloved and He has written in a part for you and me to play. But He is the author. His story transcends our little sliver of the tale. Jonah did not know that Nineveh would indeed repent! Jonah also could not have known that God would use the Assyrian Empire as His judgment against sinful Israel, scattering the 10 northern tribes. I think of when Peter rebuked Christ after hearing about the cross for the first time. Jesus tells His disciples that He must go to the cross and die at the hands of man. Peter tells Him that “this will never happen to you!” Peter thought he knew better than Jesus. Here was the response from the Lord:

    Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” – Matthew 16: 23(NLT)

    Seeing things from merely a human point of view – not from God’s. This same dangerous trap is what Jonah fell into. You see, Peter had a different ending for the Jesus story. Peter’s ending had Jesus delivering the Jews from the oppression of Roman rule. Peter could not see the grander story God was writing where Jesus would deliver all of mankind from their sins. All Peter could see was his little world and the problems he and his people faced. To Peter – they were the entire world but to God they were a moment in time. A single page in the grand story. To Jonah, all he could see was the evil nature of the Assyrian Empire. All he could see was the brutality his people suffered under them. To God, a mere sentence in the grand story He is writing. That is what it means to say that the ways and thoughts of God are so much higher than our own. We simply cannot see what God is doing beloved. That is why we need faith. That is why we must trust Him. When we cannot understand His motives, we can always trust His heart.

    The other thing I take away from the key verses is there is always a ship leaving for Tarshish. The world and the devil will always be willing to provide a way out of the will of God if we look for one. So often we take the mere appearance of the ship as confirmation that our rebellion is being approved of by God. When God gives us a direct command in His Word, we do not need any confirmation of it. We do not need to pray about it. God never contradicts His Word. But if we go looking for a ship to Tarshish, more often than not we will find it. When we are going in the opposite direction from God - the world or the enemy will be more than happy to ease the way.

    Where does this writing find you today? Are you heading for the port of Joppa hoping for the first ship to Tarshish you can find? Is there an area of your life that you have felt that you knew better than God in? Jonah would eventually see it God’s way. It took three days in the belly of a great fish to convince him – but he eventually saw things God’s way. Because He is the one doing the writing, God will eventually get you to see it His way as well. We can save ourselves a lot of grief and heartache if we would just bend our will to His now. If we would realize that His ways are simply higher than ours and His thoughts so far above us. No matter how much the Jonah inside of us all might not see it.

    Rev. Anthony
  2. Good message. Thank you.

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