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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 36)

“Let your conscience be your guide!”  That works in much of life, but it isn’t a biblical adage.  I find sometimes that my conscience bothers me about things that don’t matter and doesn’t bother me about things that do!  My conscience (and yours) is fallen, is not perfect, and needs to be shaped by the Word of God.

The Lord appeals to Jonah’s conscience in verse 4 after Jonah has had his temper tantrum.  The Lord asks, “Is it right for you to be angry?”  “Is it right?”  Hmmmm.   Jonah had set himself up as the final arbiter of right and wrong — and the God of the universe gently challenges him.

I just would have zapped Jonah and moved on to another missionary.  How about you?

But this God is indeed gracious and compassionate and slow to anger!  And He demonstrates those characteristics over and over again with Jonah.  Instead of rebuking Jonah for his suicidal ideations, the Lord raises the question of right and wrong.  The wrongs of Nineveh had gotten God’s attention and He had sent His emissary to pronounce judgment on the people.  But they had repented — and God had relented.  God chose to do what was right in HIS eyes. He withheld judgment.  And Jonah saw this as very wrong and was willing to die for his opinion.

A prayer for today:  “Lord, a big part of my fallenness is that I think I know better than You.  Thank You for not zapping me when I deserve to be zapped.  I praise You for Your patience, kindness, and mercy.  Help me to show the same to others today.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 35)

Again Jonah wants his life to be over!  After affirming God’s grace, compassion, slowness to anger, and love, Jonah is ticked that God is not sending calamity on the people of Nineveh!  And he wants to die.  Again.

What a strange prayer request:  “Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (v. 3).  If chapter one had Jonah attempt suicide by sailors, chapter four has Jonah attempting suicide by God!

“It is better for me” — How in the world did Jonah think he knew what was BETTER for him?  Perhaps this is one illustration of the consequences of Adam and Eve taking the forbidden fruit:  “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil,” God said. (Gen. 3:22)  The test in the Garden was whether Adam and Eve would obey God rather than choose their own way.

Such autonomy produced devastating consequences.  Jonah, as one of Adam and Eve’s descendants, exhibits that autonomy by evaluating what he thought was “better.”  Watch out for those words in your own life — “It is better” — either thought or spoken out loud.  Who are you to decide?  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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