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Monday

Don't Miss the Miracle

I was reading through Jonah this morning in preparation for hearing it taught at LifeSpring.  What struck me today about Jonah's story is how he missed the miracle because of his own hard hearted-ness.

As I am sure you remember, God commands Jonah to go to Ninevah and preach to them.  Jonah doesn't want to go, so he runs away.  God of course causes a great storm to engulf the boat that Jonah is trying to escape on and the only hope for survival for the people on board (including Jonah) is to throw Jonah overboard.  Jonah is then swallowed by a great fish and three days later is vomited onto dry land.  God commands Jonah again to go to Ninevah and this time he obeys.  Jonah preaches, the Ninevites repent, and all is well.

Well, not exactly.

Jonah is so caught up in his own version of what is good and what is not that he misses an incredible move of God.  Jonah doesn't like the Ninevites.  He doesn't like them at all.  We know this because when God spares them from destruction, this is Jonah's response in Jonah 4:1-3:

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.  And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country?  That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.
God has taken a rebellious, wicked city of over 120,000 people and used one man to save them all from His holy wrath and that one man misses it because he hates the people on whom God has shown mercy.  He has allowed his heart to become so hard toward these people that he runs from God to avoid what he knows might happen.

 They might repent and if they do God will forgive them and relent from destroying them.

I wonder how often we miss incredible, miraculous moves of God, not because He doesn't perform them, but because He does and we don't like them.  The story of Jonah shows us that God can even use us to initiate a miraculous outpouring of His grace and we can still miss it because of how God chooses to act or on whom He chooses to show mercy.  We all have people in our own lives on whom we wish God would demonstrate His holy justice.  They have wronged us or our family, they have betrayed us, or we just plain don't like them. Maybe God desires us to be His instruments of mercy and grace on those very people.

Will we let him?

Or will we run like Jonah did?

And when He does use us to reign down mercy and soften the hearts of our enemies, will we miss it because of our own hard hearts?

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Sheldon Clowdus

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