The Challenge – Day 6

Yes….still working in that challenge Nancy Krehbiel gave me to share a Bible verse that is meaningful to me for seven days. So…..Day 6…..

The word of the Lord came to Jonah<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-22533A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> son of Amittai:<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-22533B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-22534C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah ran<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-22535D" data-link="(D)” style=”-webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0); box-sizing: border-box; font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue Light’, HelveticaNeue-Light, helvetica, arial, sans-serif; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-22535E" data-link="(E)” style=”-webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0); box-sizing: border-box; font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue Light’, HelveticaNeue-Light, helvetica, arial, sans-serif; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”>. He went down to Joppa,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-22535F" data-link="(F)” style=”-webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; background-color: rgba(255, 255, 255, 0); box-sizing: border-box; font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue Light’, HelveticaNeue-Light, helvetica, arial, sans-serif; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.” Jonah 1:1-3 (NIV)

Or in another translation….

One day the Lord told Jonah, the son of Amittai, to go to the great city of Nineveh and say to the people, ‘The Lord has seen your terrible sins. You are doomed!’ Instead, Jonah ran from the Lord. He went to the seaport of Joppa and bought a ticket on a ship that was going to Spain. Then he got on the ship and sailed away to escape. Jonah 1:1-3 (CEV)
….And thus began one of the best known stories of the Bible. Does it sound familiar? Not just about Jonah, but can you relate?
I’m a rebel by nature. I actually think we all are, though it takes on different forms. Some of us are the openly defiant types. But even those who are quiet and seem to do no wrong…we don’t know what rages in their soul. I suspect they are dealing with their own rebellious nature but just in a more quiet way. We are often running fools. God sometimes wants us to do things that we don’t want to do and we avoid it like the plague.
We know what happened to Jonah….he eventually became whale food and learned that perhaps when God speaks you listen. Even if it’s something you really don’t want to do. There from the belly of the whale, in a sea of digestive juices, he prayed. He was humble. God rescued him instead of destroying him, and he was vomited from the whale intact. 

Finally he went and told the people of Ninevah what God has said. What he was supposed to do in the first place. The people listened and changed. Even the king repented. God was moved by the true changes he saw in the people of Ninevah and he changed his mind. Ninevah was saved.

You would think that Jonah would have been thrilled that he had positively impacted people’s lives. Pumped up. Excited. But no. He whined. God didn’t do what he first said he was going to do. He didn’t handle the situation the way Jonah expected. God was merciful instead. Just as he had been merciful with a rebellious Jonah. But Jonah couldn’t see that. We don’t see that. There often is a part of us that is only happy if the end result is the way we would have written the story. We want mercy…we want everyone else to get what they deserve.

I relate to Jonah, but don’t think I’d like him much if I met him. He didn’t learn. He was dramatic and full of self pity, and often lacked compassion. But still, in between his running away and whining, he was used by God. How much more would he have been able to do if he hadn’t rebelled and learned from his mistakes?

If life seems unfair, read Jonah. You just might see yourself and learn a bit faster to stop running away from your responsilities, put an end to your rebellion, and approach your tasks with passion. You can’t escape God. And you might find that even if you don’t get your way, a world where grace abounds works out pretty well for all of us rebels.

One day the Lord told Jonah, the son of Amittai, to go to the great city of Nineveh and say to the people, ‘The Lord has seen your terrible sins. You are doomed!’ Instead, Jonah ran from the Lord. He went to the seaport of Joppa and bought a ticket on a ship that was going to Spain. Then he got on the ship and sailed away to escape. Jonah 1:1-3 (CEV)
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