Devotion: Jonah 4:8-11The story of Jonah ends poorly by modern, Western story-telling standards. Jonah does not learn a life-lesson, Jonah does not make a course-correction, Jonah is neither victorious nor defeated. The story simply ends with a statement of God's character:
"When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, 'It is better for me to die than to live.' But God said to Jonah, 'Do you do well to be angry for the plant?' And he said, 'Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.' And the LORD said, 'You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?' " -Jonah 4:8-11 ESVJonah had been hanging out under a plant that God caused to grow miraculously. Jonah's purpose was to see the destruction of the repented city of Nineveh. The prophet simply could not take God's grace as an answer. He wanted blood, death and destruction. Instead, God showed character by grace, mercy and forgiveness. The prophet has assumed he had a permanent privileged position with God. The position left the prophet vulnerable to the sin of pride. Jonah knew best and put himself over and above the Sovereign Creator in choosing the proper course of action.
All of Jonah's worldview falls apart as the plant collapses under the worm that God sent. Jonah is left with disappointment even depression. His worldview has collapsed and instead of seeking the Lord and being reshaped and refashioned by his Creator, Jonah asks for death. The prophet believes it is preferable to cease to live than to live in a world he cannot control.
Yet the final belongs to the Lord, and it ought to be our final word here as well. The Lord is far more gracious, loving and forgiving than any of us deserve or imagine. No one is beyond the redemptive power of the love of God. God formed all things and everyone and His care and concern for his creation is what leads to the coming of Jesus, the Savior of the World. To assume we have the corner on God's love is to invite disappointment when God does not play by our rules. Surrender to God's will and recognizing His desire to save is the heart of our Christian faith.
The book of Jonah just ends with open questions. May your life be filled with the answer of God's grace that Jonah never seemed to grasp.
The song this week is "Take Me Home" from Angel!na.
News for You:
- For those praying for Andrew Brunson, you may already know that he was returned to prison with a future trial date set for October 12. You can read more here, here and here.
- Our Youth Group is meeting Sunday from 7-8:30 p.m. We are studying Titus and all youth entering 6th-12th grade are invited for faith, fun and friendship.
- The Annual Church Picnic is set for August 25 at 4 p.m. More detail will be coming in the weekly bulletin and from your deacons.
- Big thanks to everyone who helped with the ManFisher Picnic!