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 or town we don't like. What if God called us to go tell them the truth about where their life is heading. We may not want to speak to them at all, but when forced, we finally do it, reluctantly and not very compassionately.

Then, what if they respond to the message? What if they respond to God, want to get right with God? What if this is something we never expected? Suddenly, they are our brothers and sisters. This is what Jonah could not believe. The man of God had unbelief.

We can have the good news, be bearers of the light of the kingdom; but also have unbelief. The Ninevites were moving into belief from darkness into light. Jonah also has a challenge to move into a deeper realm of faith. God is even bigger than he knew. This is always the case. We are always growing in our faith and in our knowledge of God. He continually enlarges our capacity for faith and revelation knowledge about Him.

Jonah needed to be and we need to be "life-long learners" about God. It is said by wise people, that the more you know about God, the less you realize you know.

Every single person in the Bible was on a journey where they were called deeper into knowledge of God. Except for Jesus, they all made mistakes, based on their not fully knowing God. From Adam to the last human person mentioned in Revelation. Jonah is right in the middle of all of them. Serving God, but in need of a deeper knowledge of God. This is the case for everyone who walks with God and speaks for God.

"Jesus came to teach us that we have a Father who loves us more than we know. If we could sort this out, we would learn how to treat each other." From an atheist, distilling down what Christianity should be all about, but sadly is not, in his eyes, as he has watched Christians.

"One of the great tragedies in life is that, historically, the Bible gets interpreted by people who are not in love." -Bill Johnson

Have you left your first love? You know what the antidote is, right? Return. Fall in love again.

Jonah's and Yonina's, be encouraged and stand back and see what He will do: