2018-08-13 - Cliffhangers
I don't know about you, but I like stories with happy endings. I'm not a fan of shows or novels that leave it up to the audience/reader to decide.
The Old Testament book of Jonah leaves us readers with one of those cliffhangers. You and I have to decide if Jonah finally gets the message, or continues to wallow in self-pity.
The Lord is "a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness." (Psalm 86:15 NIV) He wanted the Ninevites to repent and live a better life. Jonah, a man of God, wasn't displaying any of these Godly characteristics. He was a prophet who heard from the Lord, but didn't act like the Lord. Jonah was given an assignment he didn't want to do. God wanted him to preach to the evil Ninevites about repentance and God's wrath. The prophet didn't want any part of that plan, and did everything he could to avoid it.
Ultimately, Jonah obeyed and talked to the Ninevites. The people of Nineveh listened, and changed their behavior. You'd think Jonah would be on cloud nine, seeing people repent and turn to the Lord, but Jonah was mad God picked the Ninevites to forgive! Jonah's actions proved prophets are human.
God posed a question. He asked Jonah: "But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?” (Jonah 4:11NLT)
The Bible doesn't reveal how Jonah responds. How would you answer?
May we learn from Jonah, and be less self-centered and prejudiced concerning those who need the Lord.
God, Give me a heart for the lost. I don't want fear or doubts to cloud my judgement. Prepare me for walking out Your will. I know You will keep me safe, and will provide in all situations. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.
All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.