June 20 Edevotional
In our summer Faces of Faith worship series we looked into the story of Jonah this past Sunday. Some of us wondered why this little book is even in the Bible. Such a strange story. God relentlessly pursues Jonah so that Jonah will give God’s message of repentance and forgiveness to the people who live in Nineveh (and the animals). Jonah runs as fast and as far as he can to get away from God. Jonah knows that God is patient and forgiving and Jonah cannot and does not want the evil Ninevites to be forgiven. They should not be forgiven, Jonah says. They should be judged and punished by God for the terror and evil they commit. Jonah wrestles mightily with his anger.
But Jonah thought this was utterly wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Come on, Lord! Wasn’t this precisely my point when I was back in my own land? This is why I fled to Tarshish earlier! I know that you are a merciful and compassionate God, very patient, full of faithful love, and willing not to destroy. At this point, Lord, you may as well take my life from me, because it would be better for me to die than to live.” The Lord responded, “Is your anger a good thing?” (Jonah 4:1-4)
So I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s ways of mercy and justice. I think that one of the messages in the Jonah story is that God’s justice comes, but never out of anger, always out of compassion. God questions Jonah’s anger and resentment. “You do not want me to be compassionate?” God asks Jonah.
Do I wish for God to deal out Justice to who and where I think it’s needed without first changing my own heart from anger to compassion? Lord, forgive my unbelief.
Don’t forget about the Mom’s group on Monday night
June 25. Group meets at the Gosser home and are for
parents only – no children!