Thursday, February 26, 2015

Runaway Fish Prophet, Part 8

He wanted to hurl a ball of fire into the side of that cracked, nasty city wall. It represented sin and destruction and every thing he hated.

Everything he had tried to stop.

He had known this would happen. Oh, how he had known! "I knew, God!" He shouted. He spun in a circle, screaming at the sky where he knew God was. "I knew this would happen!"

Stupid city. Stupid people. Once the king of Nineveh had declared a time of fasting and repentance, word had spread even faster. The change was genuine, too. Even Jonah could see that. For crying out loud, they were still praying and fasting! Jonah had just left a bonfire filled with idols and trinkets witches sold. He had been there for weeks, teaching, preaching, and declaring God's message to the people.

God had forgiven them.

"Lord," he emphatically waved at the sky. "Is not this what I said would happen when I was still in my country? That is why I ran to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful. Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Now, God, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live."

He heard the words of the Lord. Why, this time they even sounded in his ears. "Do you do well to be angry?"

Ha! Did he do well to be angry? Ha! 

He sure did.

It was late, late evening on Day Thirty-Nine. Jonah stalked away from the city to see what would happen.

Jonah 3:10-4:1-5

At last we have it. Jonah's real reason for being mad, running away, and being a twit in general.
Goodness, God having mercy on people? Who would have thought? What was this guy's problem? Why did he want judgment and death against all those people?

Jonah was suffering from a spiritual condition we all know, and have had at one time or another. If allowed untreated, it can be spiritually deadly.

Sinner envy.

"What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war among you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." James 4:1-3

Jonah was angry that they could live the kind of lifestyles they had for all this time, and not pay the piece he had heard about for his entire life. He had to live by the rules, but they had enjoyed a lifetime of sin. It wasn't fair. It wasn't just.

Who decides what's fair and just? God.

Was it fair or just that God sent His only Son to die, so that whoever would believe on Him, would be saved? Was it fair, that Jesus died on the cross for us? Was it fair that He had to endure more pain and suffering then we will ever know? Was it fair that God even turned His back on Jesus because of our sins?

God's goal isn't to condemn and judge. It's what He has to do because of sin. His goal is to give every chance possible for someone to turn away from sin in order to choose eternity with Him instead. God's goal is to be with you.

Sinner envy can lead to terminal spiritual illness. The perfect medicine is to read about Jesus' death on the cross while asking yourself, "Was this fair?" It wasn't. He did it for us.

V. Joy Palmer