The Book of Jonah is a very telling book on God and the fickleness of man. While man knows how forgiving God is, he immediately judges other men more harshly (hypocritically so) and believes that these men deserve what they will get…but they believe themselves to be good. hmmmmmmmmmm…really? We have all had such times and thoughts as such, I know I have. But God has been working on me for quite some time now. God is reminding us that we each have a purpose and a mission…to glorify God! And that is in all we do, which includes answering His call for us to act on His behalf to do certain things.
But the Book of Jonah is so much more. We have a purpose to fulfill and a task to complete. A calling to accept. But all too often we are sitting and thinking of, “What is my purpose? What is my calling in life?” Guess what? You actually have to get moving at times to figure out the answer to some of those questions! Some say that Emotion is created by Motion! How true those words can be! We cannot think about it all of the time, but we must act upon that feeling we have. We must seek out those people to align ourselves with in order to accomplish the goal that God has for us…it is a team sport, you know? I, myself, am constantly overthinking certain matters, as well as wondering where all my passion and desire is, for the task I see to be mine?? It is as if there is nothing there to bolster , strengthen, and embolden me to stand up and shout out to all concerned, “HERE I AM!” But it does not always work that way, does it? If you are anything like me…NOPE!
First is the telling Jonah of his task, or purpose. Like Jonah, we are each created for a purpose primarily to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27); and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31). Our purpose is different, in that, each of us can love the Lord in differing ways, but it is truly something that we each must engage our time in order to determine through prayer, research, etc.Our personal plans and our purpose are quite different, but should be complementary to one another. Our plans should stem from our purpose of loving and pleasing God, our plans would be the actions we take to do so.
Second is Jonah’s running away from his purpose, by use of his free will of choice. We each have a tendency to be filled with fear or scared when confronted with doing something that you feel inadequate to accomplish. Consider Moses, he felt himself quite inadequate for the task of setting the Israelites free from the tight grip of the Egyptian Pharaoh.
Third is Jonah being found out as the source of the troubles for others, because he ran away from his purpose. There are consequences for you as well as others when you run away from the purpose God has for you. Others, in many instances are there to guide you back to the path you left or to place you on another path for you to learn something.
Fourth, we have the big fish where Jonah can rethink his actions. The big fish swallowing Jonah was the separating him from his fellow man, but more importantly to separate him from God. To run from your purpose is sinful and as written in Isaiah 59:2 where your sins or iniquities separate you from God.
Fifth is where Jonah has decided that he was wrong in his knee-jerk reaction over God’s purpose for him. Do not misunderstand me, we each have been blessed with the gift of free will, but we often can make the wrong decisions. However, IF your resolve is such that you refuse to fulfill your obligations for your purpose and choose the path to run away, God will try to guide you back to that path. Although, you can still choose to not accomplish the obligation(s) of your purpose. Will God continue, yes He will because He love each of us! An like any father (or at least most normal fathers) He wants what is best for you.
Sixth is the fulfillment of his obligation and his anger over God’s ever present forgiveness to those who truly repent. God is very forgiving, how much has He forgiven either you or I?? Why would you get mad at God for living according to His nature? He wants all of us to enter into His Kingdom, but we have that inherently sinful nature from our youth (Genesis 8:21) and have that tendency to do our own thing…which happens to be the opposite of God’s way. But we can change, if we choose and seek to. There is the old adage: “The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile.” ~Plato Even this ideology’s sub-text is within the context of the bible by becoming subservient to God’s will by choosing God’s will and way for your life, but this is your loving, reasonable, choice based upon knowledge, research, and prayer.
Seventh is where Jonah bemoans the destruction of the vine which protects him from the sun and wind. We have all done it, complained about something that didn’t go our way and yet, we didn’t work for it or do anything to attain it! Think about it! The Powerball or the MegaMillions tickets you bought. Face it, you didn’t win because…why? Your fault? God’s Fault? Or was it just a 1 in a 192,000,000 chance that you could have attained that big retirement win? As I have heard, you have a greater chance to be struck by lightening! (ANSWER: 1 in a 280,000 chance to be struck.)
And the eighth and the final lesson is where God reminds Jonah that He gives second chances to everyone, because he loves all of us and because we are all His works of art (so-to-say); we are all of His children and He is our Father, consider:
“I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.”~Psalm 82:6-7 NIV
God knows our hearts and minds, His Spirit ministers to our Spirit, He truly knows if we are truly repentant and are really desirous to change our ways in order to glorify Him.
The bible is full of second chances, and thank God for that. Because each of us tends to go back to our nature of sin, daily…we definitely need those second chances! God will give them to us up until we draw our final breath of life! If you don’t believe me, consider the thief on the cross (right next to Jesus) where Jesus made a promise to him:
“Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ~Luke 23:43
Does God want us to be independently wealthy and rich? Well, if you think on it hard enough you will be able to see you are wealthy and rich. You are alive, you have the breath of life. If you live in these United States then YOU own the highways, YOU can enter into any library and read a book about or on any subject for free…because YOU own them! But what God truly wants for us, in my humble opinion, is to be full and wealthy in spirit and faith! But that is a decision each of us must make each and every day!
“You are what you think about all day long.”
~Dr. Robert Schuller
I will leave you with the next two memes on thought. It is my deepest prayer that you will restructure your thinking and restructure your lives for God’s glory! It is never an easy road to follow, but it is the right road to follow, in my opinion which is based upon reason, research, and faith!
May God Richly Bless You All!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD