Thursday, May 11, 2017

Nothing Subtle

Nothing subtle about Jonah.  The Lord said to go to Nineveh, an overland trip to the East.  Jonah got on a boat sailing west.  But, his destination was more than just westerly in direction.  He had it in his mind to go to the farthest point west he possibly could.  It is one of those Biblical stories which shows us that God can be short on patience.  As a result of his deliberate and willful disobedience, God caused Jonah to be cast overboard where he was swallowed by a really big fish.  He spent three days and three nights in the belly of that fish.  Now, everyone who has ever handled a fish knows they have a sticky, almost unwashable smell about them.  Imagine how Jonah must have smelled after being inside the fish.  Once he got spit out, people could smell him long before they saw him coming!
Sometimes what we see in certain characters is what not to do.  Such is the case with Jonah.  Jonah refused to go to Nineveh because he knew what God would do if the people repented and he wanted no part of it.  There are times when we, like Jonah, are just not ready to do what God wants to do.  We want no part of it.  When I first heard the call to preach, it took me six months to say "yes."  And later when I knew God was calling me to be reconciled and forgive an antagonist in one of my churches, it took several years.  Knowing what God is calling us to do does not always equate with doing it.

If we refuse God's call to do His bidding, He may simply get someone else.  Or, He may respond with us like He did with Jonah and not let us off the hook very easily.  One thing is always certain.  God's purposes are going to go forward with us, or without us.  I have always figured it to be amazing that God would see me as useful in partnering with Him to get done what He wanted to do.  Maybe you do, too.

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