Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Runaway Fish Prophet, Part 9

His little structure looked like it might fall apart.

Jonah studied the booth, a collaboration of sticks and dead leaves. The small shelter wasn't much to look at, but it was only built to provide shade for him. As long as he could sit in the shade while he waited to see what would become of Nineveh, he would be happy.

Shrugging helplessly, Jonah made himself comfortable. The land was quiet, and Jonah had an excellent view of the city. He could see all of Nineveh. He was close enough that he could see soldiers manning a perimeter around the wall, but far enough away that if the Lord God decided to blast the city, he wouldn't be fried. 

Jonah heard a crunch in the dirt behind him, and looked around. Nothing. His eyes dropped to the ground around him, just in case a serpent was coming near him.

Nothing was there. Just a tiny little plant.

Jonah turned back to the city. He wasn't sure when, or how much time had passed, but he had fallen asleep. Nineveh was still safe and sound. Yawning, he sat up slowly. A nice shady area surrounded him.

Wait a second. There was no way his scrawny little shelter was providing that much shade.
Turning around, Jonah saw a large, green plant. Scooting towards the plant some more, Jonah rested comfortably in its shade.

Jonah jumped in his sleep and looked around. Whatever had startled him was gone now. Yesterday had gone by pleasantly enough. The plant provided the perfect shelter for him.

It was the second day he had been watching for the destruction of Nineveh.

Still nothing.

The sun beat down on Jonah. He must have rolled away from the plant during his nap. Jonah looked around for it, and panic started to claw at his heart. Where was the plant?

That's when Jonah saw it. He hadn't rolled away. It was still right behind him. Dead.

Jonah moaned. "This is the worst thing that could have happened to me today."
Just then a hot wind blew across his face.

Great. Just great.

Based on Jonah 4:5-8

"Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 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." Jonah 4:6-8a

What I really wanted to talk about today was the plant, the worm, and the wind.

I really love how these verses say "God appointed." God appointed the plant to grow. God appointed the worm to eat the plant. God appointed the hot wind to bug Jonah. God arranged it all!

Sometimes God uses the most bizarre things to make His point. Even worms. The question is, do you see the things that God is using? Jonah was so focused on the plant, that he completely ignored the fact that it just sprang up out of nowhere. God did that. Would we, like Jonah, completely miss it?

More importantly, do you completely miss the fact that God uses you? It may be in bizarre ways. God may call you to do something you never would have planned in a million years. It doesn't matter what, or how, or when, or even why. What matters is that you are ready and willing. God's appointed a time to use you, and just like that worm, you need to be ready to serve.

"For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay." Habakkuk 2:3

V. Joy Palmer

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