Monday, September 15, 2014

God is Preparing You

Reading the book of Jonah this summer was a highlight for me. Yes-the camping trips, fun days at the lake, awesome time with friends, etc. were great but reading a book of the Bible that I had kind of 'passed over' for years came back to life for me. I realized that Jonah was a representation of myself and even the church today. We have heard the call from God. The question is will we respond?
Jonah is a quick book-you can read it in 15 minutes. It has 4 chapters that capture this amazing journey of a man that says no with his actions by sailing in the opposite direction that God called him to go. He finally turns to God after spending a few days in the gastric juices of a fish and an entire city of 120,000 people are saved!! Sounds like an amazing journey but as we find in chapter 4, Jonah isn't very happy.
He was hoping that God would destroy a people who actually had a history of tormenting his people. He gives a message that has the opposite effect of what he was hoping-they were saved and then he finds a spot on a hillside sits down with his fingers crossed that God still would bring His wrath to a sinful people.
Instead he has an interesting exchange with a plant. Yup, a plant. It's pretty warm and so God prepares a plant to give Jonah shade to only be chewed apart by a worm later to make it wither. And so Jonah was back in the blazing sun. I find it fascinating that Jonah ends like this. Here we have one of the largest revivals in history and yet this great book ends with Jonah trying to get some shade under a withering plant!!
Jonah 4:10-11 sums it up: But the LORD said, 'You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left-and also many animals?'
Think about a typical day for you. What do you worry about? What are the things that irritate you about your life? Do they consume your thoughts? Do they consume you to the point where you actually shove God's voice out of your head because you're 'busy'?
Of all the items in my life I complain about I wonder sometimes if I lose my awe and wonder of the journey I'm on with God. Jonah just saved an entire city and now he is cursing this plant because he has no shade and wishes he were dead. Jonah is a book of priorities. If God's people want to put actions to the words they talk about on Sunday mornings-it starts with our priorities. It means we stop complaining about temporary things and concentrate on eternal things.

Think about your life right now-what can you stop complaining about so that you can concentrate on what God has for you right now! He is preparing you for something amazing!


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