“King Jeroboam restored the border…according to the word of the LORD, the God of Israel, which He spoke through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was of Gath-hepher” 2 Kings 14:25. ‘But Jonah rose up to flee…from the presence of the LORD’ Jonah 1:3.
One of the things I love most about the Bible is the transparency of the cast of characters whom God used in mighty ways. The good, the bad and the ugly have been divinely splashed over the pages of the Word for both application and encouragement. Can you imagine if the Bible was full of perfect people doing extraordinary things? In considering Jonah, it is obvious that he enjoyed favor and prestige among both royalty and the Israelites. He was very effective in being the mouthpiece of God, a true servant of the Master. One might say that Jonah had it all…had the world by the tail and the favored ear of God.
This is one of those times when I wish I could sit at the feet of Christ and settle in for the rest of the story. I am more interested in knowing what on earth happened between 2 Kings and the Book of Jonah that would make this favored and surrendered prophet of God become a spiritual runaway. How did the servant’s voice and will become louder than his Master’s voice and will? Was it gradual or did some life event happen that made Jonah bitter towards God? What circumstance did Jonah experience that made his flesh rise up within him…death of a spouse, a wayward child, death of his sweet mom and dad? My commentary tells me that one of the predominant characteristics of Jonah was his insatiable desire to strictly judge. It makes me wonder if his spiritual slide dealt with his inability to release his own perspective and feelings about something God had allowed in his life. When we secrety judge God it seems it plays out through our judgment of others.
This brings me to a few staggering questions. How long will we be allowed to play God in our judgment of others? How patient will God be with a wayward servant whose heart and attitude is diseased with bitterness for whatever circumstance God has assigned? To what extent will God allow our unresolved emotions to rise up? How many blessings will be missed for ourselves and our family because of our unwillingness to love and forgive instead of judge?
All very good questions and questions Jonah had to face while sitting in the belly of darkness. Thankfully, God is a patient God who is not going anywhere and is willing to allow His children to sit and stew in discomfort for a season, but only for a season. How sad is the servant who goes from favor to flight when the tough times hit and can’t seem to rise above the circumstances. Only through the power of Christ can we release our sense of entitlement and unresolved anger in life. Christ can command our ‘great fish’ to cough us up so that He can revive, restore and renew our lives again…the answer is in the surrender of our rights and the acceptance of His will.