Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.
~Jonah 4:2, NASB
Your greatest strength is to recognize your weaknesses and work on them.
The verse above is part of Jonah’s prayer in chapter four of his prophecy. Jonah was angry with God for showing mercy on the wicked and cruel Assyrians. Jonah had a rotten attitude. He violated almost every rule when it comes to preaching the word. He had no compassion. He did not love the folks he was preaching to. He didn’t want them to repent. He actually wanted God to judge them. In other words, he wanted them to burn in hell. So when it comes to compassion, Jonah is a dismal failure because he had none. What Jonah did have was courage. He is not afraid of anything. He was not afraid to rebel against God. He was not afraid of the storm. He was not afraid of the Sea. He prays from the belly of the fish but there is no hint of terror or panic. He is not afraid to go to Nineveh, he just doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want them to have the word of God or a chance to repent.
We, for the most part, are the exact opposite or at least I am. I don’t hate liberals, marxist, or Muslims; I just don’t like them. Do I want them to burn in hell? No, I pray for Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and the likes. I do pray for them to repent before it is too late. Jonah had great courage but no compassion. I have compassion but I am lacking in courage. Would I go to Bagdad and tell the Muslims they are going to hell if they don’t repent? Even the idea frightens me. We love the story of Jonah because he was such a jerk. Who doesn’t feel spiritually superior to Jonah but the question is: do we have his courage? I for one, do not. May God give us courage to go along with our compassion.
It looks like the rain is on the way and I have a few little things that I need to get done. I hope you have a great day and thanks for reading the blog. The thoughts in today’s blog are not new but I am pressed for time. The pastors discussed Jonah yesterday in our small group meeting and I simply shared from that discussion.
PS. Mr. Gaines Burden was promoted last night around 11:00. Our prayers go out to Mrs. Leona and family. Gaines was the Patriarch of GPBC. He was beloved and respected by all. We don’t know any details about his COLS. Possibly Friday at GPBC but that is not definite.