Thursday, July 19, 2012
What Is Your Nineveh ? Part Two
Just in case you woke up this morning feeling like you missed it with God...
I love that God called Jonah a second time. Jonah 3:1-2
He knows us so well.
I love that He knows we can feel overwhelmed, worried or afraid at times.
I love that He knows we want to run sometimes.
And I love that even after all of our mistakes and shortcomings and disobedience...
He calls us a second time- same instructions- more grace.
"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you. " Jonah 3:1-2
I love that He won't give up on us.
I love that in that second set of instructions God refers to Nineveh as "that great city."
Isn't this the same city that is full of wickedness? Jonah 1:2
God is amazing. Period.
While I was studying this chapter God begin to gently tap, press and point to a place in my heart.
He showed me through His word and by His loving Holy Spirit.
This is where you are stuck daughter.
Stuck between fear and anger and disappointment- Just like Jonah.
Stuck between the fear of what I'm calling you to do, the unknown of what I may do and the disappointment and anger of how I haven't done things the way you've wanted me to in the past.
He knows us so well.
There is so much in this very short chapter in the bible.
Everyone has heard all about Jonah and the whale but I was really taken by what happened toward the end.
After Jonah was obedient.
He did what God instructed. He went to the city. He gave the word. The people turned from their ways. And then the word says that God relented. Jonah 3:10
And then it says this...
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. Jonah 4:1
Angry that God didn't do what he thought he was going to do and the way in which he thought he was going to do it.
Jonah was so angry and from what I have read in the text- basically so disappointed and disgusted that
He tells God to take his life.- Jonah 4:3
I love that God completely ignores that comment and pointedly gets right to the heart of the matter.
He says this...
"Is it right for you to be so angry?" Jonah 4:4
Jonah is so frustrated and angry at this point that he basically went to the other side of the city and sat down and sulked.
He couldn't handle it.
He couldn't handle that God would show him grace and mercy and goodness and a second chance AND that He would also do the same for Nineveh. He couldn't handle his disappointment. He couldn't handle that after he was obedient God didn't meet his expectations. And he couldn't handle that God called him out on it.
He couldn't handle that God had a different way.
That God doesn't do things the way we think He should do them.
That the same grace that was available for Jonah was also made available to Nineveh.
That is another blog post all by itself and it is sitting in my drafts because I am too afraid to hit publish.
But I really love that even though Jonah was all tied up in his own anger and disappointment ....
God still pursued Him.
He will not give up on us.
The scriptures say that God prepared (made a way) a plant (provision) and made it come up over Jonah, (protection) that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. Jonah 4:6
Can we talk about this for a minute?
Even in Jonah's anger, disgust, frustration and disappointment with God-
God still pursued Him.
God still prepared.
God still provided.
God still protected.
God still tried to deliver him from His misery.
He will not give up on us.
Could it be that we give up on God?
If you keep reading God keeps trying with Jonah.
He is relentless in the pursuit of our hearts sweet friends.
He truly never gives up on us.
It says that next God prepared a worm and it so damaged the plant that it withered.
Then it says that God prepared an east wind and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so much so that He grew faint. Jonah 4:8
I love Jonah's response.
Then he wished death for himself and said "It is better for me to die than to live. "- Jonah 4:8
Even better than Jonah's response is God's response to that comment.
He completely ignores it and once again- points to the real issue. The issue was in his heart.
Then God said to Jonah, "Is it right for you to be so angry about the plant?"
God knew that the real issue was that He was mad at Him.
It wasn't about Nineveh receiving God's mercy (what God does for other people)
It wasn't about how God relented (what God does and how he does it)
It wasn't about the plant (what God has done in our own life)
It was about the condition of Jonah's heart. He was angry with God.
I love God's response to Jonah and how the chapter just ends abruptly with this....
But the Lord said , You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left- and much livestock?" - Jonah 4:10-11
I feel that God is just calling a spade a spade here.
He is pointing out again the condition of Jonah's heart.
I feel He is basically saying this to Jonah:
Your source of happiness is tied to whether or not I do what you think I ought to do and how you think I should do it. You want a second chance but no one else deserves it. You want to reap what you didn't sow. You want to receive my mercy and my grace but no one else can receive it. You want me to do things the way you think that I should do them and when I don't - you become angry and full of despair - so much so that you think your life should just be over. And when I don't do things the way you think I should - you feel that I owe you for all that you have been through. That after all , you were obedient. And after all you've been through- I at least owe you what you have asked me for.
There are pieces in this text that are so where I am with my walk with the Father.
And God is so gracious and so merciful and so loving that He continues to pursue, prepare, provide and protect- in spite of myself.
It is humbling and overwhelming and gut wrenching all at the same time when the Father gets to the heart of the matter in our lives.
When we allow Him to.
When we sit down and listen and pay attention and look at the condition of our own heart.
God loves us too much to leave us in our current condition.
I want to encourage you today to sit and ask the Father to show you any place in your heart:
1. Where you are running from Him.
2. Where you are disappointed with Him.
3. Where you are angry with Him.
4. Where you feel like God owes you.
Write it down and offer it up beautiful friends. His mercies are new every morning.
Lord knows I have a notebook full myself.
I pray that this blesses you and that you allow the Father to encourage you today. I pray you can walk in a newly found freedom with the Father and that you begin to revel in it and relish in His love and His truth for your lives...the best is yet to come sweet friends.
With A Grateful heart by Sibi at 11:34 AM