IoT stands for Irony of Things
I am reading Jonah for my devotion the last few days. And to some extent I see there’re so many ironies. I will just pick two lessons which I learnt this morning:
- Know God so well and do God’s work so well, but miss out on God’s heart
When I reach the end of Jonah 4 and read the conclusion, I cannot help but felt how similar Jonah and I. Just like Jonah who knows God so well; he could tell God that he was right that God would relent and not punish when He sees people repent. In fact from the beginning, he seems to have a pretty idea of who God is and what God’s way is. His prayer from the belly of the fish also tells so much about how he sees God who alone is able to save.
Not only Jonah knows God so well, but he is one of a great prophet. He hears God spoke to him. And he enjoyed great success as a prophet. He spoke God’s message to people of Israel during Jeroboam II reign and they prospered. He obeyed God’s voice to speak against Nineveh, and they heard. Like Jonah, I could do all the works directed by God, and seeing great results out of God’s direction.
Ironically, he missed on God’s heart for people. And the heart of God for people is so radical. Jonah was challenged by God to see people beyond his race and standard of deservedness. To him, Nineveh was another country, a wicked people, and enemy of his own people. But to his surprise, to God, there is only one type of mankind….all created in His image….and with a lot of labor.
So yah, Jonah message is a good reminder for me. I could grow so well in my knowledge of God and doing so well in God’s work, but could miss on God’s love for people great time. Help me o God to see people with Your heart.
2. Fear of God that transmitted out so powerfully
I could not help to marvel and desire for the kind of effectiveness of Jonah’s ministry. He didn’t talk a lot or do a lot. But he got people converted.
First on the boat ministry. He went down sleeping, and when he was asked, he simply said that he is a Jew who worshipped the Creator God. And that made the pagan crew feared God. And when they saw the storm stopped, they worshipped God.
Second, when he just travelled one day and delivered a judgmental speech,”in 40 days Nineveh would be destroyed”, he saved the whole city. I am not sure if anyone would got a high rating for giving such bad message these days, let alone to convert people, let alone the king of the country.
So I could not stop to “envy” at Jonah’s success and effectiveness.
What I picked up from the whole book and narative, is if this effectiveness and power comes from his fearing of God. It’s so powerful that people could feel and sense that this God is a terrifying God. And they should not mess up with Him. Sometimes we treat God so casually without fear and reverence. But Jonah addressed God as the One who made the Sky and the Sea. He is powerful and living.
O God, teach me to worship You rightly, that others might see who You are.