Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jonah

A reluctant missionary.The book of Jonah contrasts the mercy of God with the deeply ingrained prejudices of his people. Nineveh has long been a wicked, barbaric thorn in Israel’s side, inflicting terror and cruelty. When God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach a message of judgment, Jonah flatly refuses (Jnh 1), because, he says in 4:2, “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God……… who relents from seeing calamity.” Jonah’s attitude is that Nineveh is too wicked for God’s grace; Nineveh should be destroyed. In his refusal to yield his prejudice to God’s mercy, Jonah runs away from God, suffering the consequences of his rebellion (Jnh 2). Yet God ultimately uses this reluctant prophet to bring the people of Nineveh to repentance, and God forgives them (Jnh 3).
Jonah ends his story with a complaint to God about Nineveh’s repentance and god’s forgiveness (Jnh 4). This final dialogue exposes Jonah’s narrowness of heart. God is quick to remind Jonah that God’s compassion and concern extend far beyond what Jonah expects or desires. In fact, no one is beyond God’s forgiveness and love. God will deliver all who call out to him, regardless of background, nationality, way of life or ethnic group.
The message of the book of Jonah also clearly demonstrates that running away from God is never a good idea. The God of Jonah and of Nineveh is our God today, and he is a God of second chances (Jnh 3:1). Just as he saved Jonah when he called to God from the stomach of the great fish and Nineveh when they heard Jonah’s message of judgment , he offers us today a second, a third, even a fourth opportunity to call in him and be saved.

Many times God will allow a painful situation or a painful circumstance in our life to swallow us up." This season in our spiritual growth is a holding pattern. We can't move to the left or the right. All we can do is sit, like Jonah sat in the belly of that great fish, so God can have our undivided attention and speak to us.

God put Jonah in a holding pattern because He needed to speak to his heart. Jonah was all alone. There were no friends to call, no colleagues to drop by, no books to read, no food to eat, no interference's, and no interruptions. He had plenty of time to sit, think, meditate, and pray. When we're deep down in the midst of a difficult situation, God can talk to us. When He has our undivided attention, He can show us things about ourselves that we might not otherwise have seen.


A. Few Of God's Holding Patterns:
1. When you are sick in your physical body and you have prayed, but God has not healed you yet, you are in a holding pattern
2. When you are having problems with your children and you have put them on the altar, but God has not delivered them yet, you are in a holding pattern.
3. When you have been praying for the salvation of a loved one and they have not been saved yet, you are in a holding pattern.
4. When you are in a broken relationship and you have given it over to God, but it has not been restored yet, you are in a holding pattern.
5. When the doors slam shut before you can knock on them, you are in a holding pattern. When we are deep in the belly of a difficult situation, there are no interruptions. God has our undivided attention. All we can do is sit, think, meditate, and pray. We cannot run from God because there are no mountains that are high enough, valleys that are low enough, rivers that are wide enough, rooms that are dark enough, or places that are hidden enough from Him. We must remember to praise Him while we're waiting and remember three things:


1. The pattern has a purpose.
2. The pattern has a plan.
3. The pattern has a process.
So stop struggling and start listening, praying and trusting. He'll keep you right where you are until you can clearly hear Him say, "I love you." 
 (Got this lovely article in my email. Hope you enjoyed it!)

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