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Daily Devotion – May 6, 2018
05.06.18

Jonah 1:1-3; 4:9-11

1Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, 2‘Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.’ 3But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.

9 But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?’ And he said, ‘Yes, angry enough to die.’ 10Then the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labour and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’

Reflection by Lynne Buell

During today’s sermon, Rev. Krista mentioned the Book of Jonah.  I didn’t know anything about Jonah other than he ended up in the belly of a whale for three days and nights.   So, I read Jonah in its entirety.  (Don’t be impressed.  It’s only three pages long.)

Jonah ignores God’s command to go as a missionary to Nineveh; he refuses to extend God’s mercy to his enemies; he appears to be lazy and selfish by sleeping while the other sailors are struggling to keep their ship afloat during a powerful storm; and when confronted by his fellow crew members, Jonah asks to be thrown overboard more than likely fearing his fate would be much worse at the hand of God than drowning (cowardly?).  While Jonah has hit rock bottom (no pun intended)—whether we believe he was in a whale’s belly or floating down to the bottom of the sea—he prays to God.  This part of the Book of Jonah is called “A Psalm of Thanksgiving.”

The miracle is that Jonah is saved, and when God came to Jonah a second time about going to Nineveh, Jonah relents and travels to this large city.  Jonah’s proclamation, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” is enough to encourage a fast and repentance among all the citizens including the king.  Thus, they turned away from violence and evil ways, and God was pleased.

Then Jonah gets angry and upset that God is not angry with the Nineveh community, but is now pleased with the changes they made!  So, in a huff, Jonah left the city and sat on a hill overlooking the city in hopes that God would still destroy it anyway.  To ease Jonah’s discomfort from the scorching sun, God provided a large shady vine.  But here comes the rub, God took it away after a worm was sent to destroy the vine and Jonah’s discomfort returns.  You guessed it, Jonah gets even more depressed.

God comes to Jonah and uses the vine to show Jonah that he really doesn’t have the right to be angry at the vine dying because Jonah did not plant it and take care of it.  Yet, Jonah shows no concern for the Nineveh community and would rather see them destroyed.  Then God says, 11And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’

The message is really very simple and no different from the other stories in the Bible.  It’s just another way of telling us what we should be paying attention to.  We should never run from God but to Him.  God is with us wherever we are.  And God shows forgiveness and mercy to everyone, no matter who we are.

 

 

 



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