The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: Jonah

Lent Devotional: Jonah 4:5-11

Jonah 4:5-11 (click here)
But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:9-11)

Reflection
Jonah has set himself up. He has trapped himself with his own words.

He was angry over a plant that the Lord had graciously provided to him for some shade and relief from the sun. The plant lasted all of 24 hours and Jonah’s praise died with the plant.

Yet…Jonah insists that he has every right to be angry over the plant! It was important and valuable to him. He pities the plant…he has compassion on it. It doesn’t matter that he didn’t create it, sustain it, or even know it for very long…he has the right to be passionate about this plant.

And now God turns the tables.

If Jonah thinks he has the right to be passionate over this plant, how much more so does God have the right to be passionate about 120,000 people whom he did create, he does sustain, and who he has known since before they were born! Are they not more valuable than a single plant. God even gets sarcastic…if Jonah can’t see these people as valuable he must at least be willing to admit that so many cows are worth more than one plant!

Jonah looks silly, pitying a plant while wanting people to perish.

This must be how we look, when we get upset over small broken comforts…a broken picture frame, a busted A/C, or a flat tire. Oh the injustice of it all! We care deeply about these little things…all the while we care little for so many people. We have a “Nineveh” in our life that we wouldn’t mind seeing perishing…but to see our comforts perish…that is a crime!

God’s question to Jonah hangs in the air… “Should I not pity Nineveh?” We don’t get Jonah’s answer…because Jonah’s answer isn’t the point. The point is how will we answer the question? We are supposed to finish the story.

Should God pity our Nineveh? Will we embrace his amazing grace…or be angered by it?

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Jonah 4:1-4

Jonah 4:1-4 (click here)
And the LORD said [to Jonah], “Do you do well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4)

Reflection
Do we do well to be angry with God?

Is it right or good to be angry with him? The short answer is no. It’s not right to for us to be angry with God because he is never in the wrong! He never sins, he never makes mistakes…there is never actually a justifiable reason to be angry with the Lord.

Of course this doesn’t mean that we won’t experience anger with the Lord…and whenever we do we should be honest with the Lord about it. We should never try to stuff down our feelings and pretend like everything is okay.

It is a sin to be inauthentic with God.

We must be honest when we are angry with the Lord, but that doesn’t make our anger at him right. Jonah was angry because God had shown grace to people whom Jonah didn’t think deserved it. There is no question that Jonah was in the wrong. It was not right for him to be angry with God.

It also was not good for him to be angry with the Lord. Jonah’s anger was only bringing about destruction. It was destroying his relationship with the Lord and, ultimately, it was destroying Jonah himself.

Jonah’s desire to see Nineveh destroyed was causing him to self-destruct. This is what un-forgiveness, bitterness, and anger do…they always bring about the destruction of the one who is harboring these things in his/her heart.

Desiring the destruction of others ALWAYS brings about self-destruction.

It is not good…it is not right…we do not do well to be angry with God.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Jonah 3:1-4

Jonah 3:1-4
Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

Reflection
A second chance…

Jonah gets a second chance, but only because God is sovereign! If God was not sovereignly in control, then he could not guarantee such a second chance for Jonah… nor could he guarantee a second chance for any of us.

The sovereignty of God is always good news…even when it hurts our head.

Because God is sovereign, we can rest in the fact that he can even use our sins, our mistakes, and our failures for our ultimate good and his ultimate glory. Such was the case with Jonah. Even as Jonah ran from God, the Lord used that running to bring pagan sailors to know him, and to reveal to Jonah the brokenness of his own heart.

Sin never wins! God always wins! He sovereign, even over sin and will use it for his ultimate purposes!

Yet, this doesn’t give us an excuse to sin. It didn’t give Jonah an excuse for his sinful actions. No. Jonah was still held responsible for what he did, and so are we. God’s sovereignty and our responsibility are not a contradiction, but a necessary combination taught all throughout the pages of Scripture.

His sovereignty stirs up faith in us that he will accomplish all he intends to through us (and even in spite of us). Yet, the fact of our responsibility stirs up faithfulness, that we are to be faithful to his call!

Sovereignty doesn’t make us fatalists and responsibility doesn’t cause us to live in fear. No. Sovereignty makes us a people of faith and responsibility causes us to live in faithfulness.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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