We Are All Going
Monday Morning Commentary
This week Pastor Chad concluded our series Minor Prophets Major Mission by preaching on the book of Jonah. Jonah speaks to the condition of our hearts towards others and to the storms in life we experience.
The first thing Jonah did when he heard the command of the Lord was to flee God’s presence. His decision to flee instead of obeying cost him. He had to pay a fare to get on the ship. Diso-beying God’s command and fleeing God’s presence always costs us. Think back to a time where you ran away from the Lord. What was the price you had to pay? You may even still be paying a price today.
Next, Jonah found himself in a storm. The storm was caused by his disobedience. Storms re-veal if we have the right friends and company because they reveal who our God is. Storms have a way of leading us to lighten our load. Storms, trials, and difficulties have a way of helping us shed wrong values, activities, and burdens.
Jonah knew what would calm the storm. He commanded the men to throw him overboard, but thee men continued to row and strive. The storms became stronger. The only way to stop the storm was to surrender to it. Jonah survived the storm by not trusting in his work and throwing himself into the sea of humanity to die just as Jesus did.
Jonah’s survival of the storm by God’s grace did not change God’s initial command. God’s word remained. Jonah went to Tarshish and preached a message of repentance. Guess what? The people of Tarshish turned to the Lord without knowing whether God would spare them or not. True repentance focuses on doing what is right regardless of what the result is.
God compassionately saved them. Jonah was mad because it made him look bad back at home. The people of Tarshish were hated back in Israel. Also, because Jonah was a prophet he more than likely knew that future destruction to Israel would happen by the hands of these peo-ple.
Imagine you, your family’s, and your nation ’s worst enemy. Think about being sent to preach the gospel to them. Then think about them experiencing the goodness and graciousness of God all the while knowing that within the next few years they would go back to their old ways and de-stroy your nation. That’s what Jonah did, and that’s why he was angry even though he followed through with the command.
God desires to make our hearts like his: willing to forgive today regardless of what the future may hold tomorrow. More than likely you can see yourself at a certain stage in the story of Jo-nah.
* Maybe you are at the place of fleeing from God’s presence.
* You may be at a place of paying the price for rebellion.
* You might be in the middle of a storm.
* Maybe you are just getting out of a storm and find yourself still having to surrender to God’s initial command.
* Maybe you are wrestling with being called to minister to people you don't like.
* Or you might be angry at God’s mercy towards another person because of how they have hurt you or how much you fear being hurt by them in the future.
Wherever you find yourself, apply the Gospel. God is big enough to handle your emotions and circumstances. The only way to mess things up like Jonah did is to flee the presence of the Lord and be unwilling to let God change the attitude of your heart. Remember, resisting God and where he has you right now only causes more pain.