Monday, September 24, 2012

Obadiah 1; Jonah 1-4

Daily Reading
Obadiah 1; Jonah 1-4

Daily Thought

"When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry" (Jonah 3:10-4:1). We desire a merciful God only for people who deserve it, but doesn't that miss the point? 

Of Ninevah had been written, "Woe to the bloody city, all full of lies and plunder-dead bodies without end-who betrays nations with her whorings, and peoples with her charms" (Nahum 3:1, 3-4). Yet God called on Jonah to "arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me" (Jonah 1:2). Jonah knew God is gracious and merciful, "slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster" (Jonah 4:2), so he boarded a ship for Tarshish, two thousand miles west. Ninevah was 500 miles east. He would remove God's mercy as far from Ninevah as possible. Author Anne Lamott wrote, "You can tell you have made God in your image when it turns out he hates all the same people you do."

We reject God's Son when Jesus challenges our conceit. "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" asked the self-righteous (Matthew 9:11). "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner" (Luke 7:39). Jesus confronts our comfortable pride, "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 5:43-45). It turns out, you can tell God has made you in his image when you love the same people he does.

Daily Prayer

Savior God, You are full of mercy and grace. My love for You is displayed as I love people. In fact, You said it will be apparent that I am Your disciple by my love for others. God, help me improve at love. Teach me Your ways. May I be a servant like Your Son.

Thank You for Your salvation. It has changed my heart. If You can show that kind of love for me, how can I not love others as much.


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