Knowing The Heart of God
Introduction: In Jonah 3, Jonah preached a warning to a city. The king and the population repented. God forgave their wickedness. Everybody was pleased! Right?
Verse one says "But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry."
What are you mad about, Jonah? I can't trust God NOT to be merciful - He has made a fool of me! I said Nineveh was going to be destroyed in forty days. and now look what's happened. God has gone and countermanded my fiery preaching with showing them mercy.
That poses a question to all of us.."Can a person obey God, even serve God, even be loyal to God without KNOWING the HEART of GOD?
A. When Your Fears Are Realized
Here is a prophet who didn't understand the heart of God. Here is a prophet who Preached Doom and the City got Mercy. What we have here is a man who feared that God wouldn't do what Jonah had been sent to preach that He (God) would do - destroy Nineveh after 40 days.
"2. .....That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity." The Lord asked why Jonah was angry, and Jonah said not a word.
B. When Your Failings Are Recognized
Jonah, what a big problem you are. In Jonah's inactivity, he grew distant. The servant God sent - the one instrumental in turning the hearts of the city back to the Lord - that servant sits DISTANT from what's going on. Oh, don't let that be you. Don't you be the one who gives up praying for revival just because you think condemnation for sin is so well deserved that it ought to come. Distant when God is moving a huge failing.
In Jonah's inactivity he reaped DISCOMFORT. Be very sure, "grumbling isn't far from the uninvolved follower of Christ. That's when eyes turn to self and all you can see is your own troubles. Grumbling when God is moving is a huge failing.
In Jonah's inactivity he approached Death. Grumble long enough that things aren't going the way you'd preferred God to act and you place your soul under sentence of death. Is it a case that because you can't trust God NOT to be merciful that the lesson for Jonah had to be repeated and repeated until: the lesson is LEARNED? Jonah, you need more grace.
C. When Your Faith Is Reorganized
God needs to come stir our nest every now and then. It's so that we might know Him better. I want to come to a place where I don't see my blessings as my rights. My faith needs to be reorganized to the place where my personal life sees blessings as privileges - undeserved privileges.
Relationship with God via personal repentance and faith is God's forgiveness is still the greatest item on God's agenda for every life.
You can't trust God NOT to be merciful!