Jonah ran away from the voice of God calling Him to work. He was a prophet, after all. But Jonah didn't prefer the assignment... the people he considered enemies.
It's not that Jonah was ignorant of the ways of God. He just didn'prefer to go tell these people to repent, because he KNEW the merciful character of His God.
Jonah KNEW that God would relent from punishing the Ninevites once they turned their hearts to Him. And isn't that what we see here, as Jonah cries out from the belly of the fish? A heart coming to understanding that it was wrong; a soul crying out to God for forgiveness.
Jonah KNEW the worth and value of God's love and mercy. He counted on it. One could say that he even ran the other way, knowing that one day God would forgive him. He just hoped it would be after God chose someone else to speak to Nineveh.
Jonah was walking the plank of grace... even before we lived under a covenant of it. And I totally relate because I do it too. As if somehow I can reason my way out of what God has told my heart to do... because I know He'll forgive me if I don't.
But that isn't the way to see His mercy.... that isn't a heart that understands God as Our Worthy Love. For whatever we turn toward becomes our idol... maybe not a statue of stone or wood. But an idol all the same.
Our busy schedule.
Our hectic pace.
Even choosing our friends over those God tells us to pursue... to reach out toward, to invite.
Jonah prays the verse of the Psalmist...
I hate those who are
devoted to worthless idols,
but I trust in the Lord.
Psalm 31:6 HCSB
But does that preclude him from being an idol worshipper too? Just because we say we hate another's behavior does not mean we aren't guilty of the same. Just because we perform it in a different fashion, putting our own spin on it doesn't allow us more grace.
Let us read this Psalm from a more original text rather than interpreted for our common. English...
I have hated them that have
regard for lying vanities;
but I trust in the Lord.
Psalm 31:6 KJV21
regard for lying vanities...
Wow! I have to admit, that's a most accurate depiction of idolatry. For isn't anything we hope in besides God... a lying vanity? Aren't we trusting something, someone or some way of life to fulfill us, only to be seduced by it's lie?
This is a slippery slope at best. For I do not wish to become a hypocrite condemning this prophet's perspective, when mine is no better. I too have been guilty of sin, only to point my finger at another's.
But as for today, I will ask the Lord to daily remind me why I can trust alone in His Worthy Love.
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