Daily D – Jonah 4:2-3
Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” (NLT)
Jonah knew God’s defining characteristics: mercy, compassion, anger tempered by a long fuse, and unfailing love. For Jonah, God was far too kind.
Have you ever hated anyone enough to want God to kill them?
Have you ever hated anyone enough to pray what Jonah prayed when he essentially told God to kill his enemies or kill him instead?
As our four-year-old granddaughter would say, “He’s got attitude!”
Jonah is a prophet for our time. We don’t need him hanging around hating on everybody not like him. We’ve got plenty of those kinds of people in the worlds of religion, politics, and the news media. No, he’s a prophet for our times because he, unfortunately, sounds like the so-called prophets of our times.
You have probably heard Anne Lamott’s famous quote: “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”
We are created in God’s image. We are to become more like him. This is inevitable as we draw nearer to him, walk with him, abide with him. The more we are with him, the more we turn to him, the more we share his heart and mind and turn the work of our hands to his work of restoring souls.
How well do these attributes of God characterize your life? Let’s perform a simple self-examination. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 indicating “Most like God,” and 1 indicating “Least like God,” rate yourself in these attributes:
* Slow to anger
* Unfailing love
Which of these characterizes what you do best now?
Which of these shows the biggest opportunity for growth and development?
Who can you talk to who can help you create a learning plan God can use to renovate your life?
One of the big lessons of the book of Jonah is, “Don’t be like Jonah.” The corollary is, “Do be like God.”
Two last important thoughts:
* What do you need to confess to God?
* What do you need to ask from God?
I will ask God to build his character into my life so that I may see and serve even those who repulse me with his mercy, compassion, patience, and love.
Our Father, I don’t want you to hate who I hate. I want you to fill my life with your love that seeks the highest good for others, including those who offend me. Use my hands to demonstrate your compassionate care. Temper my unkind impulsiveness. Empower me to show others the same mercy you have shown me. Amen.
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Romans 2:4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
Acts 18:24-26 Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos, an eloquent speaker who knew the Scriptures well, had arrived in Ephesus from Alexandria in Egypt. He had been taught the way of the Lord, and he taught others about Jesus with an enthusiastic spirit and with accuracy. However, he knew only about John’s baptism. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him preaching boldly in the synagogue, they took him aside and explained the way of God even more accurately.