Friday, September 19, 2008

I Told You So!

Here's another passage in Jonah that made me smile.

"Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country?" Jonah 4:2

Poor Jonah. All he wants to do is let those who are disrespecting God get what they deserve. He's got it all figured out. He'll ignore God's request to tell the Ninevites to repent--after all, God's too nice. Jonah will go on vacation for a while and wait until God gets good and angry and then wipes out all those no-good people who are aren't following the rules.

But when it doesn't go Jonah's way, and his vacation is turned into the worse ocean cruise experience ever, and he still had to go talk to those no-good people... and God actually forgave them!... that's when the tirade started.

"God! I told You this would happen before I ever left! Don't You get it? These people don't deserve You, they disobey you, and they should be punished. I was trying to keep you from making a bad decision, but here You've gone and ruined it. And to top it off, I'm the one who has to spend three days in a giant slimy fish stomach?? (By the way, thanks for the rescue.) This royally stinks."

Hmm...this sounds familiar to me. Have you, like me, ever wondered why some totally apostate people are millionaires, living in fancy houses, while I--who love and fear God--end up with more month than money? Or have you ever been frustrated that people who committed horrible crimes get free room, board, and education in our prison systems, paid for by my hard earned tax dollars?

Sometimes, like Jonah, I just want to sit down in the shade (with a bad attitude) and wait to see what's going to happen to them.

Until the Lord reminds me, "Do you have good reason to be angry?" (4:4)

I guess not. Isn't it interesting how we can make enemies of people that God is trying to love? They were never His enemies, just separated from Him by sin. Here Jonah is striving against God in the name of justice and righteousness, while God is saying, "There's a bigger issue here. The lives of people are at stake. And I love them just as much as I love you." Sometimes our stubborn lack of compassion becomes a more glaring thorn in His side than the wickedness of those thousands who will one day repent.

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