Wednesday, May 25, 2011
God, R U kidding me? (Part 1)
I’m having one of those weeks. Things aren’t all going the way I’d like or the way I’d planned. And, no matter how many leadership articles I read, absorb and try to implement, some things are just beyond my control.
What is in my control is my response. We all get tested and upset. And, as much as anyone hates to say it aloud, we get angry with the people around us, and occasionally at God. There is no one alive who hasn’t wanted to ask God “Why,” “What am I doing here?”, “God, are you kidding me?”
But you’ll notice that these questions are not really about God at all, they are about me, and my feelings. They are questions essentially asking God, “Why don’t you think the way I do?” “Why can’t it be done my way?” “Just let me smote them just a little, and we can get this thing back on track.”
And, as much as I’d like to proclaim that it’s about God, it is about getting myself out of the way to do His will and His work. So… onto Jonah
What’s the basic problem with Jonah? Like many of us, he was a hypocrite. He thoroughly enjoyed the forgiveness of God, but deep down inside, didn't really want to share it with Nineveh. We talk and sing about how life changing the grace and forgiveness of God has been in our lives. Yet, far too often it seems we aren't willing to face any inconvenience to share this grace with others!
Text: Jonah 1:2, 4:1-10
Most of us know about the story of Jonah. Jonah was one of the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. Unlike many of the other prophets, Jonah is not noted so much for his prophecies and what he said, but instead he is noted for what happens in his life. In looking at Jonah’s story, we are witnesses to a conversation that he has with God over what’s happening around him. It is from his struggle with God that we in point of fact learn something.
Jonah's experience and journey begins in the first Chapter. It begins with the Lord saying, "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it." In other words, the word of the Lord has come to the prophet and He tells the prophet to go and do something specific. What's unusual about this is that Jonah is called by God to go and speak to people who aren’t even from Israel. This is unusual.
It's also strange for another reason, and that's because Jonah is sent to preach to Israel's enemies. Well, Jonah wants nothing to do with this idea. We can all hear him say it, “Are you freaking kidding me, God? I am not going to do that.” What this demonstrated is that, as servants of God, no matter the call or calling in our lives, we have a choice. God has, after all given us free will. God can actually be calling us to do something, and we run away from doing it. And that's exactly what Jonah does. The Israelites, looked down on most groups, and the Ninehvites were no exception. They were sworn enemies of Israel. So he decides first, that he is not going to do it and second, that he will just run away from all this nonsense.