My Pastor was preaching about Jonah being tossed into the sea. An older gentleman in a front pew "whispered" into his wife's ears. "That's what I call live bait."
The gentleman had on a plaid shirt and suspenders, and looked like he knew how to catch a fish. Trying not to chuckle out loud I began to think about Jonah and his refusal to deliver the message to Nineveh. Jonah should have been delighted to tell this enemy of Israel, "You're going to be destroyed in forty days."
Why didn't he want to tell them? My body was sitting in the pew, but my mind was reliving Jonah's story. Jonah knew some thing about God that made him not want to deliver that message. So he fled from the presence of the LORD.
Only after timeout in a whale's belly with sea weed wrapped around his head did delivering that message seem like a good idea. Thrashing around in darkness and in stomach acid he remembered the Lord. He called out for mercy.
The whale burped Jonah up on dry land and he headed for Nineveh and deliver God's message. The people and even the king repented in fasting and ashes with sack cloth and ashes. The king declared that perhaps God will turn and repent of the evil he said he would do unto us. (Jonah 3:9-10).
Jonah goes up on a hill to see Nineveh destroyed. When destruction doesn't happen on day 40 Jonah is irate and pouts. It is then that we find out what Jonah knew about the Lord that caused him to be disobedient to the God. "...I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil." (Jonah 4:2).
Jonah was glad for mercy when he needed it, but he didn't want God to extend mercy to his enemies. That thought began to convict me.
People in my pew began to move, and I realized that my Pastor had finished his sermon, and I had finished mine.
Scripture: "...I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." Romans 9:15
Prayer: Father help me to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to all like you are.