Summary: God was about to ask Jonah to do something he never would have dreamed that God would want him to do. God asked him to actually “care” about these people and to then go and preach the gospel to try and turn the city of Ninevah in the right direction. Bu
Man on the Run
I can still see the scene from the movie Titanic where the orchestra is brought out on deck to play music-all of this happening while the sip is sinking. Drinks and food are being passed out in the dining room to make everything seem normal. Passengers were eating, drinking and dancing as the ship was going down. It reminds me of what Jesus said, “as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the son of man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37-39.
Most of us tend to think that it is people who don’t know Christ who tend to ignore how the seriousness of the time we live in but many believers fall into this category as well because we spend our time eating and drinking and going about our lives as usual while people are dying every day without Christ. And that was the case in the life of Jonah. People are dying without Christ in need of the message of salvation and Jonah couldn’t care less. In fact Jonah wanted to see them face God’s judgment. Jonah would have been happy if all of them had been destroyed.
But here’s the problem….God was about to ask Jonah to do something he never would have dreamed that God would want him to do. God asked him to actually “care” about these people and to then go and preach the gospel to try and turn the city of Ninevah in the right direction. But Jonah was reluctant. And there were several reasons. First of all…
1. Jonah did not want God to love people that he hated. There is a German word…schadenfroida…it is when we gain satisfaction from the misfortune of others. It’s when we gain satisfaction from the misfortune of others. It’s when that person you don’t like at work gets turned down for a promotion or that girl who was so popular in high school and she comes to your ten year reunion and has gained 50 pounds and you’re happy about it. I know who you are. That was Jonah. Jonah was thinking that the Ninevites might be destroyed. But God wasn’t happy with Jonah’s attitude. He was not the first of have this kind of attitude nor would he be the last. 20 centuries later we still see this kind of thing taking place.
The Jews suffered terrible things in the 1990’s. The Christians in Germany were not only silent about it; many of them actually supported Hitler. Christians began to persecute the Jews. And why? Because we could not believe that God would love people that we hated.
What about today? 2012. Were you happy when Saddam Hussein was taken out? What about Bin Laden? You say it’s not the same thing….it’s exactly the same thing. God loves these people. Think about it. Does God loved the alcoholic, the drug addict? Absolutely. But not all of us do. Does God love people with tattoos, body piercings, hair 4 colors? Absolutely. But not all of us do. What about the pedophile? Are we happy on the inside when they get caught? The list could go on and on but you get the idea. Surely God doesn’t love those people any more than we do—or does He? The Bible teaches that it is very important that we get this right….2 things (1) love the sinner and (2) hate the sin.
But we tend to get that reversed. Part of the danger in taking a strong stand against sin is that we can come across as being against people, the very ones Jesus died for. You see Christ didn’t die for perfect people. And all of us are sinners. It’s just that we think our sin is different. Jonah thought that way and it was one reason He was reluctant about going to Ninevah.
2. A second reason was that Jonah thought they were unworthy of God’s love. You see for some people the longer they are saved they tend to forget about their past. They tend to forget where they came from. Jonah had somehow forgotten how patient God had been with Him and how undeserving he actually was. You see Jonah just really didn’t think these people could actually change. Have anyone in your life like that?
Jonah had forgotten that the prophets had been preaching to Israel for hundreds of years and Israel would not listen and they were supposed to be God’s people. God had been reaching out to them for centuries only to be rejected by them. The truth is that Jonah’s own people were further away from God than the Ninevites were. And here’s the thing…