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Would you like some cheese with that whine?

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Reflection of Jonah 3 and 4

Wow.  Jonah’s a baby.  In one chapter he got his act together, set off for Ninevah and set the place on fire with repentance.  A nation wide fast was proclaimed and over 120,000 people had lives that were changed.  No big…Not to get political, but can you imagine if Jonah 3:4-10 happened in America?  Have mercy!  Flipping on the TV only to see Obama declaring our nation and all people and animals within it to mourn and wear burlap, refusing food and water until God changed His mind about us?  Our need for nation wide repentance is already here, but (and that’s a BIG ol but) I’m not seeing Obama making that declaration any time soon.  In short, God’s heart was already softened towards the Ninevites, hence the drastic measures he took to get someone there to preach to them.  Jonah was finally obedient to the call and hearts were drastically changed.  Just like Jonah’s heart was initially changed.
Grace extended.
Mercy received.
Lives forever changed.

Yet, Jonah STILL became angry when the Ninevites repented.  With God.
Wait, did I miss something?  Are there some verses missing?
No, the scripture is complete, but clearly Jonah’s heart is not.  Apparently he’s having a “country club” state of mind when it comes to the Ninevites.  And if I search my heart deep enough, I’ll find that I too expect exclusivity from the Lord.  The God who sent His son to die for our redemption.  I expect Him to violate His own word and not be “the same yesterday, today and forever.”  I expect Him to love me more than people in my life.  The people who makes me crazy because they are undependable, complains all the time, are miserable in their own life, loves and creates drama, has a constant “glass half full” mentality.

But He doesn’t.  Throughout history God has loved equally.  Cleopatra, Paul, Hitler, Mother Teresa, Princess Diana, a nameless homeless man in LA, Bill Clinton…no matter their placement on the globe or the timeline of the universe…

He.  Loves.

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Have Bait…Will Travel.

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Reflection on Jonah 1 and 2

So I’m thinking that this wasn’t the “three hour tour” that Jonah was banking on when he high tailed it to Tarshish.  Hearing God’s voice and request to preach to this town that so desperately needed Him, Jonah busted outta there like Alcatraz.  I never realized what that journey looked like for him until I saw the actual map.
Wow.  He couldn’t have gotten any farther away from Ninevah!

What was in Ninevah that he was so afraid of?  Why did he run so fast and far upon hearing this assignment?  I’m not sure.  But it only took about 4 verses for God to come up on the scene and get all up in Jonah’s business.

What Jonah didn’t realize is that 1) you can’t outrun God and 2) he had his own little Ninevah on the boat.  The sailors prayed to every god they could think of to get out of this mess.  It wasn’t until they prayed to the God Jonah was running from that things changed.  I can imagine their faces in verse 15 and 16, where it says, “They took Jonah and threw him overboard.  Immediately the sea was quieted down.  The sailors were impressed, no longer terrified at the sea, but in awe of God.”  I can imagine them tossing him over, the sea becoming still like a pane of glass and them smugly strutting and brushing their hands together and saying, “Well.  That was easy!”

Enter stage left…giant fish.  This shows me that God will go to ANY measure to get your attention.

Well played Lord.  Well played.  Note to self: next time order the chicken…
Anyway, Jonah’s prayer is so genuine and heartfelt.  An entire chapter is dedicated to his heart’s cry.  But truly, what else would there be to do in the gut of a fish?   I mean, if you can’t find God in this situation…yikes.

Two things happened in Jonah’s prayer:
1) he confessed of his current situation.
2) he gave thanks and praise to God.

Exit stage right…Jonah.
Man I’d hate to be fishing on that shore.
No big.  Just a man coming out of a fish’s belly.  Hey, what’d you do today?

So, all in all this is a great image of God’s grace, mercy and pit bull determination to a) get His people preached to, b) go to any means possible.  Even though you’d think we’d learn by now, we still disobey, we still run, we still hide.
God loves us!
God is for us!
God is with us.

Why would we want to run from that?