This is just a little reminder when sometimes we are left confused about whether we truly heard from the Lord or not. This can actually happen often as we walk out this journey with Christ. Certainly none of us get it right all the time! We are all learning His ways with us daily.
However, let’s remember Jonah for a minute shall we? The Lord sent him to Nineveh to proclaim coming judgement. Jonah did not want to go ( we all know this story well!!!) and when he finally did obey the Lord…. the people turned and repented. This caused judgement not to fall because the Lord was merciful at the heart change of the people.
I am sure Jonah felt somewhat humiliated because what he was sent to proclaim did not actually happen. Anyone ever been there? Maybe He thought it seemed his words were not making him a very “for real” prophet. After all the tale tell sign of a prophet is whether or not what he proclaims comes to pass…yet…let us not be too quick to pass our own human judgement upon God’s higher ways… We see Jonah’s distress of heart in this response:
Jonah 4:2 tells us : “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.”
A bit dramatic I’d say…yet I can completely understand where he was in this very moment. It really had nothing to do with Jonah’s obedience and …yes indeed…Jonah did hear from the Lord accurately..but the mercy of the Lord is moved by repentant hearts and in this case the Lord did change his mind and stayed his hand. I’m so glad this is the God I serve friends. I am glad prayer can change things. I am also glad a desperate cry is heard from the throne…
Jonah was angry that it did not happen as the Lord had sent him to proclaim….(maybe the belly of the fish looked really good about right now!) …
Perhaps this was mere pride of man, yes? (and he knew the people of Nineveh were a ruthless people likely deserving God’s judgement)….he surely didn’t like the people thinking him wrong or making him a laughing stock. We must be careful not to care more about people knowing we were right rather than rejoicing in the Lords change of heart….this is for the sake of His people and likely we also are recipients of this beautiful grace over and over again. In the end..we are at the bidding of the Lord as His servants and we can trust Him even when it doesn’t turn out exactly like we planned or desired. It always makes me grin a little when I think how often we think we know what God is doing….and in all reality…at times we have no clue at all:)
It would surely do us some good to bless Him for His never ending mercy. Heaven knows we need it daily…:)