2019-10-14 - Cliffhangers
I don't know about you, but I like happy endings in stories, or at least an ending that is believable. The Old Testament book of Jonah ends with a rhetorical question rather than a concrete ending. Jonah, a prophet who no doubt heard from the Lord, didn't always do what the Lord said. Jonah was given an assignment he didn't want to do. God wanted Jonah to preach to the evil Ninevites about repentance and God's wrath. The Lord wanted the Ninevites to repent and live a better life. Jonah did not want any part of God's plan, and he did everything he could to get out of it.
God had His way, and Jonah spoke to the people of Nineveh. They listened to Jonah and changed their bad behavior. You'd think Jonah would be on "cloud nine," seeing these people turn from their cruel ways, but Jonah was mad God chose to deliver the Ninevites. Jonah knew the Lord was gracious, compassionate, loving, and slow to anger (Jonah 4:2), and yet this Godly man didn't show any of these Godly characteristics when it came to lost people needing the Lord. Jonah proved that prophets are human.
The Book of Jonah ends with a cliffhanger. The Lord asks Jonah this open-ended question. "In that city of Nineveh there are more than a hundred twenty thousand people who cannot tell right from wrong, and many cattle are also there. Don’t you think I should be concerned about that big city?" (Jonah 4:11 CEV) Unfortunately, we never learn how the conversation ends. If you were Jonah, how would you respond?
Lord, Jonah's life is a reminder that You don't think like humans do. May I align myself with Your will. Give me the strength and confidence to obey You and Your plan. In the name of Jesus' I pray, Amen.
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All scripture references are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise noted.