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Showing posts from December, 2011

Have mercy

But Jonah went out from the city and sat down east of the city. There he made himself a hut and sat under it, in the shade, to see what would happen to the city. Then the LORD God provided a shrub, and it grew up over Jonah, providing shade for his head and saving him from his misery. Jonah was very happy about the shrub. But God provided a worm the next day at dawn, and it attacked the shrub so that it died. Then as the sun rose God provided a dry east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint. He begged that he might die, saying, “It’s better for me to die than to live.” God said to Jonah, “Is your anger about the shrub a good thing?” Jonah said, “Yes, my anger is good—even to the point of death!” But the LORD said, “You ‘pitied’ the shrub, for which you didn’t work and which you didn’t raise; it grew in a night and perished in a night. Yet for my part, can’t I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than one hundr…

God provides

Then the LORD God provided a shrub, and it grew up over Jonah, providing shade for his head and saving him from his misery. Jonah was very happy about the shrub. But God provided a worm the next day at dawn, and it attacked the shrub so that it died. Then as the sun rose God provided a dry east wind. Jonah 4:6-8a

Jonah's story tells us that God provides. At moments in the story, we are told that God provided. Here, it is a good thing: a shrub for shade. Then, God provided something that was not good or rather what it did was not good: a worm that killed the shrub and took away Jonah's shade. Then another thing was provided by God that did not feel good: a dry east wind.

Does the Lord provide good and bad weather? Does the Lord provide a good parking spot, on the one hand and a rude person on the other hand, who cuts in front of you? In these instances, Jonah believed that God provided these good and bad happenstance things and here it is written for us.

Does this mean th…

Standing back

But Jonah went out from the city and sat down east of the city. There he made himself a hut and sat under it, in the shade, to see what would happen to the city. Jonah 4:5

Jonah was angry that the Ninevites were repenting. He told God, "it's not fair". God questioned Jonah as to whether he was getting carried away by his anger.



Jonah response was to:
Go out from the city. Get away from what God was doing. Detach. Withdraw. Get his space. He didn't run away, but pulled back.He sat down and made himself a hut, for shade. He sought comfort on a perch.Watch and see what would happen. He already knew what was happening.Jonah did not:Go into the city, to minister to the people. He did not help them connect further with God.Rejoice over Nineveh's repentance and salvation and begin celebrating with them.Proclaim that he was wrong about his prejudices towards Nineveh and repent himself.We might have neighbors we don't like. We might have people in our city …

Good King Wenceslas (re-post from 1-3-07)

The Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas" tells the story of a king who goes out with his page to give alms to a poor man on the day after Christmas. Wenceslas is a real person, born in 907. His father was converted to Christ through the work of two Greek brothers Cyril, known as Constantine; and Methodius in the 860's. These brothers became known as "the apostles to the Slavs". Wenceslas' father died when he was only thirteen and his grandmother, Ludmila, raised him as a Christian. His mother, Drahomira, remained pagan as did his younger brother and arranged Ludmila's murder in 921 and regained control over raising Wenceslas. History is sketchy on what happened during the next 5 years, but when he was 18 years old, he assumed the throne and had his mother exiled. He then promoted Christianity throughout Bohemia. The nobles did not like the Roman influence that they saw coming in through Christianity and plotted to kill Wenceslas with his pagan …

Angry man

The LORD responded, “Is your anger a good thing?" Jonah 4:4

God usually does not need information, when he asks questions. He enters our space and seeks to communicate with us. God wants our hearts revealed to us, so he asks us questions to draw us out. God is asking, "is it right (a good thing) for you to be angry that I am a gracious, forgiving, merciful God?"

God gives Jonah a chance to explain how his anger is good or right. Perhaps God is addressing the anger because Jonah did not pass through his anger. The Psalmist and then Apostle Paul echoes, "be angry without sinning", (Psalm 4:4 and Ephesians 4:26). Anger is something we feel, go through, or express; then we move on. What is beneath the anger? Sometimes it is hurt or loss. If this is so, we need to get past the anger and feel the hurt or grieve the loss.

Jonah was angry about what was happening before his eyes in Nineveh. He expressed his anger to God. That was good. Now, it seems, that he…

"It's not fair" prayer

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.” Jonah 4:2-3

We have here, an angry prayer and a sinful prayer. Recall the prayers that came out of Jonah when he was trapped in darkness, facing a certain death. They seemed so pure, but were they just pious scripture quoting by a man in desperation?
"Anger is a short fit of madness."It is a bit shocking that he would get angry with God, when something wonderful is happening! What kind of a model is Jonah for someone that God called to the highest level of Old Covenant ministry?

But Jesus does not shy away from Jonah's prophetic preaching ministry, but endorses it. We are seeing here again, that thi…