Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A Rebellious Preacher

Jonah was a rebellious preacher. What!? Rebellious preacher? Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? Listen to Jonah 1:1-3. “Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”
The first thing is that the Word of the LORD came to Jonah. Just so we don’t miss it, this is Amittai’s son, Jonah. Yeah, that Jonah, the famous prophet from Gath-hepher. (see 2 Kings 14:25 and Jonah’s famous prediction) Hmmmm. Not ringing a bell, eh? OK, lets put it into a modern perspective. Jonah was from Possum Trot, KY. He was from Pumpkin Center, GA. He was from Bell Buckle, TN. He was a down home, red neck, Tennessee windsucker of a preacher. In-other-words, he was a famous guy from a not so famous place.

It makes me wonder if Jonah had a small town chip on his shoulder. He shopped at the Jerusalem Wal Mart, while all of his contemporaries shopped at the Mall of Israel. Niemen Marcus wasn’t his thing. Neither was the high falutin politics of Israel in the reign of Jeroboam. The enemy was the Assyrians, specifically their leader, Tigleth-Pileser. Envision Hitler, Hussein, and Osama all rolled into one.
Now here was this country boy from Nowheresville, the famous preacher who had led Israel into a great time of national revival and to a certain point spiritual revival, and the word of the LORD comes.

At first I would imagine that Jonah was all excited . A word from the LORD. Would it be another famous prediction? A great word of oratory he should deliver to the priests? Perhaps a promotion…that rascal Jeroboam could stand to be taken down a notch or two. No. Nope. Uh-uh. The word of the LORD came to Jonah, the son of Amittai saying…wait for it… Arise. Go to Nineveh (Tigleth=Pileser’s home town) that great city and cry out against it.

You may say that’s not so bad. Except Jonah knew his theology. God would not issue a call of judgment unless He also offered a chance of repentance. And Jonah was not about to give the Ninevehites a chance to repent! He was a bigoted, racist, judgmental Bapti..uh, preacher. A rebellious preacher. Instead of following God’s sure, certain call, he ran in the opposite direction. I’ll say more about his run later. For now, I want you to see the contrast between Daniel’s purposeful position, and Jonah’s rebellious run. Both were godly men. Both knew the truth. But Jonah lost his way. How often do we lose our way? Pretty often I would guess. The great thing is that God still finds a way for us, even in our rebellion. That “Way” is Jesus Christ. Paul said that While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. While Jonah was still formulating a plan, God was creating a really big fish. While you were still learning the ropes of sin, God was “dieing” on a cross to take your place. The great thing about God is that He doesn’t wait for to come to Him, before He starts planning the good things He has in store for us. Take a special encouragement from that this week, won’t you?

No comments: