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May 21, 2011

The account of Jonah is just as much about Jonah’s need for saving grace as it is about Ninevah’s. There was Jonah basically wishing a whole society and civilization death and destruction! But, when he was in the belly of the whale he desired mercy and forgiveness for himself!

When Jonah finally obeyed and conveyed God’s message of mercy to the people and elders of Ninevah, his heart towards them had actually still not changed! He promptly took himself out of the city and sat upon a hill hoping they would not listen and waited in his front-row seat under a plant to spectate as God destroyed them. God had to point out the gargantuine plank in his heart:

“You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” Jonah 4:10-11

That’s how the story ends!! Johan wishing he were dead because he was so angry that God spared Ninevah and mourning a PLANT – a plant? Not a dog, not a lizzard, a p-l-a-n-t. He would not own that plank in his heart, but he was willing to die for the speck in Ninevah’s eye. What?

The account of Jonah not only shows that a city needs the word of God and that God desires to save cities from destruction with The Good News, but also, to show us, you and me, what is in our hearts – those convictions that are completely contrary to His heart and convictions.

Look at Deuteronomy 8: 2-3, 5

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna… to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

Do you know what is in your heart? Jonah had to go through being swallowed by a great fish, then watching his dreams of desctuction not coming true to still not realize the depravation in his heart. On the surface that depravity was for his fellow man; but at the root, at the heart of his issue was his depravity for a love of God and his glory. Do you know what is in your heart?

Are you in a desert crisis right now? Are you starving for something? Are you upset about a situation because it’s not working out the way you want it to? Are you more in love with that plant (that coping mechanism) GOD provided while you were stewing over your circumstances rather than being concerned that God be glorified through the manifestation of his will?

Perhaps God has you where you are to show you what is in your heart. Are you going to finish your story with being angry and just wishing you were dead rather than change your heart towards the situation or are you going to surrender to God’s will and let him receive glory where and how and when he decides?

You’re not God. But, don’t be Jonah either.

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