Monday, January 30, 2012

Are You Angry at God?

Jonah had gone up and down the streets of Nineveh preaching that God would destroy them in 40 days (Jonah 3:4). When the people of Nineveh repented, God decided that He wouldn't destroy the city because their hearts had changed. How did Jonah respond? "But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry" (Jonah 4:1). The Hebrew word for angry means "furious." Jonah was burning with anger against God because he thought He had made a mistake.

Do you understand why you get angry? We get angry because someone is doing something that we don't want them to do, or they are not doing something we want them to do. Someone is not meeting our expectations! We get angry at God for the same reason. We're mad at God because we think He has made a mistake. We want Him to do something for us, but He isn't obeying our wishes. He hasn't answered our prayers by our deadline.  He's not meeting our expectations.

How can we stop being angry at God? 
First, realize we don't have all the information that He has. Dt. 29:29 says, "The secret things belong to the Lord"... and He's not obligated to tell us. If we knew that He knows, we would sheepishly say, "Oooooohhh, that's why!" When we stand before Him, He will answer all our questions, but until then, we must continue to trust Him.
Second, we've got to stop blaming God. God gets blamed for so many things He doesn't do.  Just read Job 1-2 to see how Satan likes to cause destruction and then pin the blame on God.
Third, we must lower our expectations. We get angry because we want God to meet our demands. That's pride, and we know that "God resists the proud but give grace to the humble" (James 4:6). It could be that your anger at God is actually keeping you from being blessed.  Humble yourself and ask God's forgiveness.  If you will, you'll find that your anger will vanish.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mission Impossible

After the whale vomited Jonah on dry land, God gave him another chance to fulfill his mission.  His challenge was almost like Mission Impossible.  "Your mission, Jonah, should you decide not to accept it, you will be swallowed by a whale that will bring you back to Israel, and we'll keep doing that until you finally do accept your assignment!"

His "impossible" mission was to be the first foreign missionary to an evil, pagan nation. Jonah saddled his donkey and rode 500 miles to preach to the Assyrians. When he arrives in Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, he sees temples, shrines, and idols all over the city.  They worshipped the fish god, and when archaeologists excavated Nineveh several decades ago, they found many stone images of a large fish with a man coming out of its mouth. Proof of Jonah, perhaps?

Jonah went up and down the streets of Nineveh preaching a five-word sermon: Forty--Days--More--Nineveh--Destroyed. (Jonah 4:3) He didn't need to learn the entire Assyrian language. He probably just yelled these five words in their language as he walked down the streets.  Amazingly, the Ninevites heard his sermon and repented! The king of Nineveh stepped down from his throne, took off his robe, and put on sackcloth as an act of humility (Jonah 3:6).  Repentance always begins by stepping off the throne and asking God to take that seat.  When God saw that the entire city changed their hearts, He decided to not destroy them.  Jeremiah 18:7-8 says that if a nation will repent, He will stop the judgment from happening. God gave the Ninevites another chance because they changed their ways.

God gave Jonah another chance. He gave the Ninevites another chance. And He will give you another chance too. But first you must repent and submit to God's will, just as Jonah and the Ninevites did.