Modern Day Jonahs

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False humility

Since the beginning, God has been pegged to be someone that He’s not - a God that doles out special treatment. And since the beginning, God’s creatures - man and supernatural beings - have had a tendency to think they can climb to the top of mount holiness so they can look down upon their fellow beings. What makes this odd is that all of God’s creatures know they can’t in fact be as holy, righteous, and perfect as God. So a bit of false humility gets sprinkled into everyone’s stew of hubris. Much like with the pharisee and the tax collector.

11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ - Luke 18:11–13 (ESV)

At times we may tell ourselves that we need God and that we’re not perfect, but we’re still better than those people. God should accept me but not those people. I’m not perfect but at least I’m doing these thingsunlike those people.

The propensity to exercise this type of judgement exists within the hearts of all of God’s creatures. Even Satan and the supernatural beings that follow him are known for attempting to highlight the flaws of humanity in an attempt to drive a wedge between us and our Lord. To God they say, “Look at them! We’re not like those people! They are not worthy of you!”

To the bitter end

The Israelite, Jonah, had the same type of attitude when God called him to the city of Nineveh - an Assyrian city. Read that last sentence again. His job was to call the natives to repent and turn to the Creator. After the people repented of their ways Jonah became angry that God would even think about offering salvation to them.

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. - Jonah 3:10 (ESV)
4 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 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. - Jonah 4:1–2 (ESV)

We see that Jonah initially ignored God’s call simply because he was a self-righteous, cantankerous, bitter, old man that felt sinners who were not Israelites should not be saved. He was hoping for some sort of divine retribution to be rained down on Nineveh. In fact Jonah was such a bitter man God simply asks Him if there was some benefit to him being needlessly angry.

4 And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?” - Jonah 4:4 (ESV)

God repeated this statement later when Jonah was upset when his shade plant was eaten by a worm.

9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” - Jonah 4:9 (ESV)

I want you to be aware of modern day Jonahs. They posit ideas about salvation and God that are rooted in evil because of their own self-righteousness. Despite scripture explicitly stating that God does not exercise partiality with His creation there are people today who attempt to cherry-pick verses to state the opposite. They desire divine retribution on those who are not like them. However, scripture is clear:

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. - Acts 10:34–35 (ESV)
10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality. - Romans 2:10–11 (ESV)

God never wants anyone to feel or believe that they are beyond being adopted into His family. What scripture tells us plainly, and what we see by God’s own hand, is that He offers salvation - grace and mercy - to all who do right. To all who turn from evil and to Him. He is a God after a people who chase after Him. Since the very beginning God has desired the entire human race to be part of His family. Not a subset of humans based on skin color, geographic location, lineage, cultural affiliation, denomination, income, university accreditation, books authored, popularity, church size, connections, or social movement affiliations. In fact, God exercises equal distribution of justice even with His supernatural children as well. He simply does not exercise partiality with anyone. He would be an unjust God if He did.

Many people today are like Jonah; bitter, self-righteous, angry and cantankerous but proclaim they’re part of God’s chosen family. That’s the devil talking. It is an effort to split apart humanity so we will eat each other alive, proving Satan and his followers right. No one is adopted into God’s family except through faith alone in Christ (God) alone. Do not become a modern day Jonah - wishing for divine retribution on those God would desire to be saved. And avoid those who proclaim adoption into God's family is based on their own merit or some earthly affiliation.

Written by Terrence Covin
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