Book of Jonah, part four

Here’s something incredible about the Bible. Today’s blog is the original thing I was going to write about the book of Jonah. It’s what I took notes over, it’s what I always intended to write about. So what were those 3,000 + words all about before now, you ask? Those were just God, I suppose. I find that when I’m faithful in my studies of the word, God rewards me with so much knowledge. He opens this book up in ways I never imagined possible, he shows me treasures and wonders that I can’t find on my own. He explodes a sentence into a paragraph, a page into a book all its own. I’m so thankful for this gift He gives to me and for this deep thirst and enjoyment of His word that’s awakened in me this year.

So yeah, that’s how we’re 3,000 + words into this study and haven’t yet made it to my original set of notes on the book of Jonah. But we’re there now!

The major theme of Jonah that struck me is simple on the surface. God has a purpose for each of our lives. We’ve got a mission, maybe many, that He’s looking to carry out through us. When God decides to use someone to accomplish a purpose, He will get that purpose accomplished no matter what. You see this so often in the Bible. God puts a call on someone’s life, and then that person works to fulfill that call. They often find great hardships as they pursue God’s mission, but often find great blessings from the Lord for their faithfulness in the end.

Jonah is unique because here’s a guy who gets a clear mission from God and then immediately disobeys. He doesn’t even pretend to do the job and he doesn’t go out and sort of halfheartedly halfway do the job. He jumps on a boat and says “get me outta’ here!” Does Jonah get away? Does God snap his fingers and go “Darn, I guess this mission just won’t get completed after all”? Nope, he shakes the seas. He gets Jonah off the boat, and after a little time stewing in the stomach of a giant sea creature of some kind, Jonah ends up back on dry land and ready to carry out his mission.

Once Jonah gets done, he doesn’t get a blessing from God. Jonah’s spiteful and bitter, and he sits outside in the heat wishing for death. He’s so mad over God’s mercy towards his enemies that Jonah builds a little temporary shelter outside of the city and just curses everything. He wants God to kill him, and that’s more or less where we leave Jonah. Some studies I read suggested that he set up shop out there to watch the city, that he wanted to be there when they returned to their evil ways so he could throw a “told ya so” at God. Jonah obviously thought God made a mistake in sparing the city, so he sat outside it angry and bitter, unwilling to accept what the Lord had saw fit to do in the situation.

So, mission accomplished. Time to celebrate? Time to get a reward from God for doing what he asked? Nope, not in this situation. I really believe that had Jonah at any point here come around, had he softened his heart and come into agreement with God, that the Lord would’ve had some sort of a blessing for him. God’s the smartest being that will ever exist, He knew how hard this was going to be for Jonah! God knew He was asking a big thing of this man, and I have to believe that had Jonah responded faithfully and shown love and mercy towards his enemies that God would’ve shown great favor towards Jonah. Instead, we leave this story looking at a broken man. Unrepentant, angry, bitter and broken, there Jonah sits as the scene fades to black. No blessings, no rewards, just his anger and bitterness to keep him company.

CLOSING AND PRAYER

Tomorrow is the fifth and final installment of my study of Jonah.  I had such a great time digging into this book, it’s one of my favorite studies I’ve done so far.  I just love how deep you can go into the Bible, there’s so much to this incredible book!

For prayers today, I want to pray about purpose.  We’re all very good at coming up with plans for our own lives, but what matters most is what God’s plan is for our lives.  I’ve been struggling a little with this as I’ve started working on a grand plan for what I think would be an incredible ministry.  However, I’ve spent almost no time seeking God’s will and His thoughts towards this idea.  I’m changing that today, as I know that living His purpose for my life is the ultimate goal.  So as I start to really seek God’s heart on this new idea I’m working up, I want to encourage each of you to pray about your purpose.  Maybe you’re like me and are seeking God’s will about a purpose you want to pursue, or maybe you have no idea what God’s purpose for your life is and you want to seek that.  Either way, let’s just lift that up today together.  I’ve wasted too much of my life living out my own plans, I want everything I do now to be in step with God’s call on my life.

I love you guys, and I hope your Monday is off to a great start so far.  If not, I want to leave you with some great wisdom I picked up from my 10 year old nephew today.  I asked him why he’s always happy, and he told me that it’s because he always thinks happy thoughts.  I was really touched by the beauty of those words.  Our thought life plays a huge role in our moods and attitudes.  So if you are struggling today, try to get your mind focused on the good things and the God things.  God loves you.

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