I know. You think I’ve made a mistake–asking you to read ALL of the Old Testament book of Jonah. The book is only 4 chapters with a total of 48 verses. That’s it! Too much to ask? I think not!
I’m amazed at Jonah. He tries to defy God while being one of the Lord’s chosen prophets. He should know better. He should act his part and do his bit. He’s a prophet of Yahweh.
Eager to serve His Lord? No, he runs away. Swallowed…stewing…spit up and out…speaking of God’s coming judgement all over the city of Ninevah. Then ironically, Jonah is grossly unhappy. All upset over a dead shade plant when hundreds of thousands of people are hell-bound. He’d be happy to grease-the-skids to gehenna for each one of those rotten Ninevites.
The story ends there. No happy ending. No repentant prophet. But here’s the big question that I have. How do we know about the details of this story? No reporters in those days. No combing through someone’s e-mail or Twitter accounts. Merely humbled Jonah telling us his story. If it were me, I’d forget all about my lapse of loyalty to the Lord. Why dredge it up? What good is it? Better left unsaid!
Or is it? I guess not–for the Bible tells of many failed people. Endings far from flawless. Certainly in our own day, there are too many of us who don’t live up to our billing as devoted followers of Jesus. But isn’t that the point? It’s not about me saving myself or anyone else. ‘Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…'(Hebrews 12: 2).
Honest-to-goodness, He’s the only One worth checking out. Lower your eyes upon any one of us and trouble looms. Look up to Jesus, and you can see both the forest AND the trees. It took honest Jonah, eating humble pie, to tell us his story. It took guts and courage to admit who he was– what he did and didn’t do.
To me, I think the book of Jonah is his prayer of confession to the Lord. Seeking forgiveness. Here’s the challenge for you and me. To pray that the Holy Spirit will help us to be humble and transparent. And what should be shared with the Lord alone. Maybe, we’ll all feel much better, really light and airy, as we open ourselves up to Him, the One who loves us in spite of ourselves. Agreed?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for the Bible and your openness. In His name. Amen.