Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Vines (11/21/05)
TITLE: The Little Prophet That Could, Did and Will!
By Dan Louise Mann
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I gave him marching orders to Nineveh, but what does this little Israelite do but flee from Me by ship. Disappointing! So I resorted to a little climate adjustment to get his attention and remind him I know where he is ALL the time. And that led to the whale thing. I won’t elaborate on that, except to say I don’t think the fish was any happier than Jonah when all was said and done.
So finally Jonah chose to turn around and head for Ninevah like I asked him to before. He jumped right in and warned the whole city, and I was very proud of him. And the people took to him and his message wholeheartedly! I’d say it was Jonah’s greatest success since he’s been in my employ…120,000 Ninevites acknowledged their evil ways and turned themselves around.
“I’m really pleased with your recent work,” I informed Jonah. “Based on their response, I’ve decided to be merciful to Nineveh’s inhabitants and not destroy them.”
At that point Jonah disappointed me once again. He let his bigoted side surface, and he began complaining.
“Lord,” he whined to Me. “I just KNEW this was how it would go. You’re too gracious, too merciful, too kind. You should be displaying righteous anger, not mercy. I’d rather die than see these people live.”
I knew he was only finding fault with My decision because I was extending mercy to those he considered his enemies. Wouldn’t hear a peep from him if this had been Israel we were talking about, I thought.
I watched him walk off in a huff, throw together a squalid little shelter outside the city walls, and then just sit in the sun and dehydrate. He’s an exasperating little man, I’ll say that for him. Hard to believe he’d rather suffer--or die--than be happy that thousands of sinners had come to repentance. Well, I decided to show him that My mercy and love extended to him even when his heart was as hard as stone.
Replying to his previous opine, I said, “Jonah, your attitude greatly disappoints Me, but I want you to know I still love you, and I don’t like to see you so miserable out there in the hot sun. So here’s a little gift from Me to you.” I caused fast-growing vines to sprout up and shade his temporary dwelling. Even made it the kind with gourds to not only give him shade but a bonus of food and liquid. And Jonah perked right up. “Oh thank you, thank you, Lord!” he exclaimed effusively.
Oh sure, I thought, he’s all happy and thankful when I favor him with shady vines and nourishment, but will he repent of his hatred of the Ninevites? Well, he most definitely did not! By evening Jonah’s stubbornness remained as strong as ever, and I knew the vines had served their purpose as an object lesson. So while he slept peacefully under the spreading vines, I let one of my little worms have a field day on the main root of that plant. By the time Jonah woke in the morning, yesterday’s welcome shade was just a shriveled mass of brown tentacles.
“Lord, those vines make me so mad! What’s the matter with them anyway? They couldn’t stay alive more than one day?” he shouted, as he kicked viciously at the wilted stalks. “Again I’m asking you, Lord. Why don’t you just let me die?” he pleaded. Of all things, he was mad at the VINES, not at Me! Such a capricious little man.
But I wanted to focus his attention back to his attitude, so I used another minor climate alteration to make it a stiflingly hot and windy day, and Jonah ran out of steam pretty quick and fainted. Using this semiconscious state to get through to him (not the first time I’ve done that), we had another chat, he and I, about his anger issues.
Sadly, Gabriel, we didn’t arrive at a mutually satisfactory agreement by the time Jonah awakened; but despite that, I still love that little prophet, and I know he’s going to do great things for Me in his future.
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