Plants or People.
Our church has been going through the book of Jonah. I've learned things about this book that I have never understood before! I've been loving it!
We recently wrapped up the book and the final thought was so great! Jonah, as most of us know, was swallowed by a fish. He spent 3 days in the fish before the fish vomited him out. That is probably the extent of the knowledge that the "masses" have of this story. For those that have read or studied the book, we may know some more details.
Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh to warn them of God's judgement. Jonah ran to the opposite part of the world. God stopped him, put him in a fish and redirected him to Nineveh. Jonah reluctantly went and preached the short message of "Repent or you will be destroyed". The people of Nineveh, as a whole city, repented!
The final chapter is most sobering to me. We read how Jonah was angry about God being merciful! He wanted Nineveh to be judged!! He even BLAMES God for being merciful... almost as an insult!
After Jonah preaches to the people and they repent, he goes outside of the city to watch God's judgement. Of course God spares the city because they repent... He is merciful! As Jonah defiantly remains in the hot sun, God has compassion on him and causes a plant to grow and cover him for a day. The next evening God sends a worm to destroy the plant.... Jonah gets mad!!!
God's final question is simple "Do you do well to be angry with the plant?" Jonah replies "Yes!!! Angry enough to die!!"....what??!!! The Lord's very last statement before the whole book ends is this .... “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
The challenge to our church was to evaluate whether we do the same as Jonah. Do we look at our own situations and are we more concerned with our well being ("the plant") than we are concerned about the salvation of others? Do we complain about our situations, forget about the mercy that has been shown to us and still cast judgment on those that we feel may not "deserve" the benefits of a gracious and merciful God?
... ugh! I need to ask some forgiveness!
Soli Deo Gloria