A FORGIVING HEART

The indignation of Jonah reminded me of the pain of the obedient son. To Jonah’s chagrin, God said, I forgive Nineveh. And to the obedient son’s dismay, his father said, I forgive my prodigal son. Why should an act of forgiveness unsettle and upset anyone just because they are not the direct beneficiary?

Jonah sinned against God by an act of willful disobedience, putting his dear life in jeopardy.

“I went down to the moorings of the mountains, its bars closed behind me forever”, Jonah 2 vs. 6a.

Jonah’s eloquent description of his encounter with death provokes thoughts, paints a picture of a prophet in a robe thrown overboard a ship. Too dazed, or inexperienced to maneuver, he does not keep afloat, like a piece of rock, he sinks, traveling down quickly to the deepest part of the ocean, from where he would normally never return. Though hounded by death, Jonah remembered he had an anchor.

“I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction and He answered me. Out of the belly of sheol I cried, and you heard my voice”, Jonah 2 vs. 2.

Those are definitely not the words of a man thinking for a second that God will not have mercy on him and spare his life. How wonderful it is to be able to tap into God’s mercy, Jonah of all people should know the feeling yet, when Nineveh received mercy, it “displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.”

The profile of a prophet who gives precise and unfaltering declarations is admirable, besides awe-inspiring, but a prophet is a servant, a messenger, not a Lord or Master. If there is no confusion or misconception, complications wouldn’t arise. There are many messengers who forget themselves because men reference them as “masters”. And there are others who despise the principles of their master. How possible is it to submit to a master whose judgments you question and whose essence you hold in contempt? Jonah said:

“Ah, LORD, was not what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, one who relents from doing harm,” Jonah 4 vs. 1.

Jonah knew his master well, but he didn’t agree with Him. In fact, he would rather die than live to serve Him; Jonah 4 vs. 2. Does Jonah love the LORD? I believe he does; Jonah 2 vs. 9. But he finds it difficult to reference the LORD because the ways of God confuses him. Unlike the acts of God that’s all for power and might, the ways of God is encapsulated in one word, mercy. God esteems the demonstration of mercy above the demonstration of power. So even though He says “the soul who sins shall die,” Ezekiel 18 4, He also makes it clear in Ezekiel 33 vs. 11 that “ As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live…..” It is on the principle of mercy that God sent His son to die for us while we were yet sinners, Romans 4 vs. 8. On this same principle, in the book of Luke 23 vs. 34, Jesus prayed for those who bruised and battered Him; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

To be continued.

Yours truly,

Moni,

For Hephzibah ministries.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: