Are you going through the motions?

Jonah did what he was supposed to do but without believing that the people would turn and that God would really wipe them off the face of the planet.
He was going through the motions of completing his task.
“I want to preach your compassion, your awakening call to turn to you and repent, but what I really want is for you to burn with anger and kill them. Save me, but kill them. Oh and by the way, I want to watch. Let me get my camera ready and it will be an internet sensation. You’ll be famous God, I’ll be spreading your Word! It’ll be great!”
Is this what we want, as individuals? As a church body, both congregationally and as a complete body of Christ?
Do we want to hear the good message about compassion and repentance but really want people to die in their sin because they’re different? Different means appearance, personality, belief, how they worship?
I’m not saying that all paths lead to God – no I’m not a universalist – but what I am saying is that ALL people need to hear about Jesus and that He loves them and is calling them to turn from their sin and come to him. We can’t pray that they’ll come in to hear the Word and then when they get here kick them out for how they look or if they smell funny.
You think I’m joking, but sadly I am not. God loves people and we need to get back to the place of loving people as God loves us. He first loved us when we smelled funny and were wearing dirty rags on our BEST day. Isaiah 64:6
We may be right in that they deserve condemnation for what they have done – as Jonah was right in saying (Jonah 4:4) that he knew God would do this and that it would be better for him to die because the Ninevites weren’t dying.
But if God honored all who deserved condemnation without offering His mercy which is new every morning then you and I would all be in that fire sale. Everything must go, including us. Romans 6:23
Let’s not forget this – without Jesus we are no better than everyone else. BUT with Jesus, everyone instantly becomes a little better than before. Ephesians 2:12-13
As we see with the history of Ninevah, they instantly became better people because they called urgently on God (Jonah 3:8) but they didn’t stay that way. Eventually they fell back to their old ways and did not repent and were later destroyed (see Nahum another great minor prophet from the Old Testament)
In that area they didn’t have the constant stream of wonderful ways of communication from God to us that we have – they had prophets and from the looks of it not many (if any) actually lived in Ninevah or Assyria.
If anyone had excuses for not sticking with God (this rhetorical as we all should stick with God because He alone is worth sticking with) it was them. They got one message from Jonah the reluctant missionary and just hearsay from the other people who probably exaggerated the miracles of God to an untrue state.
Much like telephone it could start out as “God parted the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross from the Egyptians” and end up as “Moses’ God parted the Blue Sea, the Dead Sea, and the Red Sea for the Israelites to cross as Moses took on Egypt’s whole army by himself with only his sword and one arm tied behind his back. God then gave him the strength the swim across the Red Sea to meet up with the Israelites.”
Do you see what I mean? When you operate off a lesser version of the truth it is much easier for the devil to come in and deceive you and tempt you to fall away from the narrow path of following God. John 8:31-32
We on the other hand have every possible resource to us to stay right in line with God and yet at times we are just as bad as the Ninevites in not following God.
We end up like Jonah, only wanting God for us and no one else. The Word says God is a jealous God but we should not be jealous when other people get God’s attention.
So if we are honest with ourselves – truly honest and let them Spirit come in, filet our heart and take out the grizzle of sin – what do we really want?

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