Jonah 4:1-4 – “But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD and said, “Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. 3 “Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.” 4 The LORD said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?” NASU
The story of Jonah is one of the funniest, most encouraging, and yet tragic stories in the Bible. When a prophet or a preacher is instructed to do something by the Holy Spirit they have two choices, do it or resist. Jonah initially chose the latter and we find out why in the latter part of the book of Jonah. He knew the mercy of God and didn’t want to bring a message of destruction because he was afraid God would extend mercy and his message or prophecy would prove to be incorrect. Either he suffered from too much pride or he failed to understand the purpose of preaching and prophesying. He definitely failed to grasp that the basic purpose of God is always redemptive and that God will extend mercy whenever and wherever possible. It’s a sad commentary but preachers through the ages have been Jonah’s in preaching “hellfire & brimstone” and almost getting excited about it happening. I’ve believed from my early days in ministry that preaching judgment must be done with a broken heart and a deep hope that repentance will transpire.
Every Sunday school student knows the story of Jonah and the whale (or whatever the fish was) but how many really understand the story as it relates to the heart of God and His desire to pardon rather than condemn! I can’t help but laugh when Jonah like Elijah begs to die when things don’t go as expected or opposition surfaces. I find the humor of God displayed in the plant that shaded Jonah being destroyed by the Lord so that he wallowed in his self-pity and had to suffer the heat of the sun. God was trying to get his attention and get his thinking right as He does with us on more occasions than we’d care to admit. He engineers our situation to the uncomfortable to bring us into His Pavilion of Peace and Purpose so that we can walk in His Mercy, Love, Power, and Grace. Yet we so frequently resist when we should be as the Angels, rejoicing when people repent.
I find God’s description of the people of Nineveh most interesting – “120,000 people who do not know the difference between their right and left hands or many of the animals.” Apparently not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier but people that heeded the warning of the prophet/preacher and repented crying out for the mercy of God and received it. The Lord asked me a couple of years ago, “If Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the leading Democrats repented and turned to me with a whole heart would you rejoice or be angry?” That took me off guard and I’m still meditating on it. I’d like to say, “I’d rejoice and believe that I would!” I truly desire that ALL PEOPLE come to know the Lord Jesus Christ and follow Him with a whole heart and if my prayers are answered regarding that rejoicing would be a delight!
So, if God gives you an assignment and you bring a stern warning or prophecy of impending and imminent destruction keep in mind that God’s purpose in the warning is to bring about repentance. Therefore, if that takes place don’t get upset because it somehow affects your image regarding the correctness of your prophecy or preaching. Wasn’t that the true purpose of your message? You didn’t really want destruction, did you? If you did, then you need to repent because you certainly weren’t speaking with the heart and mind of God.
I really don’t know why I felt directed to give this as a devotional but have a strong sense from the Holy Spirit that it is a message that someone or more than one needs to hear at this very moment. God is up to something in the spiritual realm and if we truly believe that Restoration, Renewal, and Revival is coming in this Last Days Harvest we need to be prepared to see the positive response to the message! REJOICE – it’s God’s purpose coming to pass!
Today will be a good day for you, I know it deep inside my heart and you will see the hand of God move in ways you’ve not expected although you’ve been crying out for. Be prepared to get excited in, what God is doing in these last days!
I pray that the rich and bountiful Blessings be upon you powerfully this day!