She Reads Truth is doing something new for Lent – every Friday the reader’s share their own thoughts on a certain passage of scripture. This is my response for the week.
Last week (in part I), we saw how Jonah was given a calling, which he saw as an interruption, and ran the opposite direction from where God was asking him to go. We also saw in chapter 2 of Jonah how the prophet repented of his sin and God brought redemption.
This week we look at chapters 3 and 4.
In Chapter 3, God speaks to the Jonah a second time. He did not give up on Jonah. Oh, friends! Do you see that beautiful picture of redemption? We can ignore God’s plan for us, we can see His call as a interruption, but if we repent He will continue to call! He will continue to speak! He will not give up! But in our second chances, brothers and sisters, may we be like Jonah and obey the word of the Lord (Jonah 3:3).
The story of Jonah was never about Jonah.
The story of Jonah was never about the fish.
The story of Jonah is about the character of God.
So Jonah obeyed God, and then God brought repentance to the city of Nineveh. And Jonah was angry.
I can’t blame Jonah. Have you ever had someone hurt you, who doesn’t know Jesus? I have. Oh have I. And I have felt the need to pray for their salvation, and it makes me bitter, it makes me angry. Where is the justice? Jonah 4:1-4 says,
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”
No one can tell me they haven’t ever felt or done what Jonah has done. You know we are to love our enemies, we are to pray for their redemption. Oh we want God to be gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster when it comes to us. But our enemies? Oh heeeccckkkkk no!
The challenge questions here is this: are you concerned more about your convenience or your calling?
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here. (Matthew 12:38-42)
Our calling is something greater – we are to share with the world the salvation offered by Jesus – who laid in the belly of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights to give us a second chance.
photo credit to my brother, Daniel. Follow him on instagram @ an_idiot_abroad