Scripture of the Day:
5 Jonah left the city and sat down east of it. He made a shelter for himself there and sat down under it in the shade to see what would happen to the city. 6 The LORD God appointed a little plant and caused it to grow up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to rescue him from his misery. Now Jonah was very delighted about the little plant. 7 So God sent a worm at dawn the next day, and it attacked the little plant so that it dried up. 8 When the sun began to shine, God sent a hot east wind. So the sun beat down on Jonah’s head, and he grew faint. So he despaired of life, and said, “I would rather die than live!” 9 God said to Jonah, “Are you really so very angry about the little plant?” And he said, “I am as angry as I could possibly be!” 10 The LORD said, “You were upset about this little plant, something for which you have not worked nor did you do anything to make it grow. It grew up overnight and died the next day. 11 Should I not be even more concerned about Nineveh, this enormous city? There are more than one hundred twenty thousand people in it who do not know right from wrong, as well as many animals!”
Hope Discovery of the Day:
When the truth hurts or life seems unfair, we know our just God redeems it still.
Looking up at the judge as the gavel pounded and its echo reverberated around the room, I could not understand how the truth did not win. Isn’t that what we were there for? To get to the truth? It did not seem fair. The decision thrust us into yet more months of agonizing pain and more debt accumulating to pay for court fees and attorneys to defend my children and get to the truth. I did not understand why we had to go through all of that, why God’s justice did not happen sooner, but over time I would come to understand that God had bigger purposes other than just winning in court. His timing and His ways are perfect.
The truth sets people free, but people have to be ready to hear it.
We can have a selfish motivation concerning truth. We want the truth to be known in our circumstances so things go well for us. But what about when the truth is kept from us or perhaps the truth about is not so pretty? What then? Do we want truth?
Jonah was called to tell the rebellious people of Ninevah the truth, but he wanted them to die believing a lie. Why? Motivations of the heart reveal our disposition about truth.
History records that Ninevah was the capital of the Assyrian empire and that descendants of the Ninevites could be modern day Isis members. Ninevah is in the same geographic area and they were just as brutal. That helps put things into perspective. Would we want to tell an enemy the truth? Which would we fear most? God or man?
Jonah was likely nursing a grudge against the Ninevites, kind of reminiscent of King David in Psalm 73 when he, too, struggled with his lot in comparison to another’s. Jealousy prevented Jonah from wanting to share the truth to set the Ninevites free. Ninevah was an enemy nation. He did not want them to be forgiven, but perhaps their repentance could have meant that they would not have been a rival anymore. Jealousy not dealt with becomes hatred.
Jonah did not think the Ninevites deserved God’s forgiveness. Did he think he was better? He had just received incredible mercy from God, but then was so upset about God forgiving the Ninevites that he asked God to kill him.
Jonah had to be swallowed by a whale to learn his lesson. He was granted mercy and was finally ready to give it to others. But. When he saw their incredible response of repentance, he became angry. God was patient with him, providing shelter, but when it was removed, Jonah felt he was owed it.
Whatever it is that keeps us from the truth can be overcome by trusting God. The truth is, life is not fair. Or, at least, as some consider fairness. Life. Is. Hard. Really hard. But God’s justice reaches through our definition of fairness and turns it upside down. His purposes are always greater than our own. Sometimes we might be an agent to help God’s justice and truth reign for those who have no voice. Will we do it or be like Jonah and allow motivations from our heart to hold us back?
There is hope in knowing that our God is Truth and He knows the end. When the truth hurts or life seems unfair, we know our God redeems it still.
Lord, thank You for using truth to deliver us from our slavery to sin. Help us to trust You when the truth hurts and we feel forgotten. You are good all the time and Your purposes stand.