Tag Archives: internal idolatry

Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 23)

Let’s recap just a little.  Jonah was commissioned by God to go preach against the wickedness of the Ninevites — and he wordlessly fled in the other direction from God.  God tracks him down, sends a massive storm, and forces the pagan sailors to dump their cargo and their disobedient Jewish missionary.

The sea becomes calm and Jonah is saved from drowning by a large sea creature.  He gets swallowed but not eaten.  In that fish’s belly Jonah finally decides to talk to the Lord.

In his somewhat elegant prayer, Jonah leaves no doubt that he was certain his life was OVER.  But God spared him and rescued him from his idolatry.   What was Jonah’s idolatry?  He wasn’t tempted to join those pagan sailors in worshiping their gods, was he?

It seems to me that Jonah’s idolatry was, in a sense, much more subtle.  He worshiped his own perspective, his own evaluation of the situation.  He placed more value in his running away from God than his willingly submitting to the “God who made the sea and the dry land.”

This kind of idolatry comes much more naturally to us — and there are no large, hand-crafted statues to carry around!  Internal idolatry is the most lethal.  It may be difficult to recognize and even more difficult to abandon.  Especially if we don’t have any terrified sailors threatening to toss us overboard! (to be continued)



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Posted by on August 23, 2017 in Jonah


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