One of the books in our reading this week was Jonah. Even though Jonah is a short book it is packed full of lessens for us to learn about ourselves and about our God.
Jonah 4:2 tells us that Jonah recognized that God was gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and one who relents from sending calamity. Knowing all this about God, Jonah despised the people in the city of Nineveh. He was not interested in the people repenting and turning to God, even though he had personally experienced God’s forgiveness. His plan was to run in the opposite direction.
Why do Christian’s run in the opposite direction? When I think of myself, I have often thought that I know what is best for me. I am not always totally convinced that God has my best interest in mind. Other times I can react out of fear. I can worry that I might not succeed or that others around me may be critical. If you can relate to this, we must recognize that the God of the universe is in control and, like Jonah, realize that fleeing from the Lord is not enjoyable. When Jonah decided not to obey God it became very uncomfortable for him and those around him. How many times do we think like Jonah—that if we just go the opposite direction that God will forget about using us and will have a different plan.
The other cool thought is that God will not give up on us. He wants us to grow in Him, even through our disobedience. How many times do we here people say things like, “I can do what I want” or “I’m in control of my own life”? If you are a believer and have accepted the Lord as your Savior, then you must understand that you are not in control of yourself. You were bought with a price. First Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
When we sin against God there are consequences for disobedience. But don’t forget that the God we serve is a forgiving God, full of mercy. He proved His mercy to Jonah and to the people of Nineveh who heard His voice and repented of their sins.
Let’s remember that God wants us as His followers to obey and trust Him knowing that He has our best interests in mind. Any other course is just not worth it.
(Director of Outreach)