Today, it is easier to listen to society rather than to listen to GOD. We are breed to think that what we own in this life has something to do with our self- worth and other peoples self-worth. We are persuaded to think that we are better than people because we have made better choices. We earnestly watch to see if people get what they deserve and are satisfied when we see karma come back to someone. Society lets us believe these misconceptions because it’s easier to blame others, rather than to look inside yourself and see your faults. Choosing society’s thinking is the easy way, but leaves you with a close minded, chained up idea of freedom. It is only through listening to GOD while living in HIS fear of humility, and compassion that we break free from society’s chains and start seeing the world through GOD’s eyes.
Society teaches us from a very early age to judge a book by its cover. We are breed to think that what kind of cloths or shoes you wear (especially in High School) has to do with your self- worth or your acceptance of other people. Even though GOD may tell you to befriend someone it is hard to do when they do not fit the mold of what everyone deems acceptable. In this case our society keeps us from GOD and HIS purpose for our lives. It reminds me of how Jonah fled to Tarnish because he did not want to go to Nineveh as GOD told him. The funny thing is when you do not listen to GOD you often find yourself in a big storm just as Jonah did. Your life often seems so hard to deal with that you feel like your boat is going down in the sea. Although, if we had listened to what GOD told us to do, then we would not have experienced this. God has a way of bringing you back regardless of what your freedom of choice chooses because HIS will, will always outweigh our own.
In Jonah’s case, he knew he had caused the storm and that the only way to stop it was to give himself back over to the LORD. In this moment when they threw Jonah over board and the sea became calm. GOD’s will was also fulfilled in a big way because the fishermen turned from there false gods to the one true GOD. It makes you think that GODs plan is always in full swing because maybe HE choose Jonah because HE knew he would run and in the running GOD’s glory would shine through. We have all asked GOD why bad things have happened to us? Even in the storm, HIS will always has a plan to bring glory back to HIM; reminding us all that the light shines brightest in the dark. GOD then arranged for a big fish to swallow Jonah. It was here that Jonah showed his own humility through his prayers to GOD. He realized that all that matters in life is worshiping and accepting the LORD as your savior. After 3 days and 3 nights Jonah was spit out on the land ready to do GOD’s work.
If we look closer into the being in the whale, we can clearly see that GOD puts us all into the whale of society for the purpose of growing closer to HIM. Think about it, have you ever felt stuck, sad in life or not fulfilled? This is exactly how Jonah felt in the whale. Jonah was stuck in life because he was listening to his own desires so much that he could not see GOD’s purpose. All he could see was the fact that this mission was scary, hard and he did not want to go through it. When you are going against the grain of society you often feel this way. You are out of your comfort zone; life is hard and its easier not to do what GOD tells you. It’s easy to not pray in public because you are embarrassed. It’s hard to stand out from the crowd and say I am going to live under my means because it not the normal thing to do. You do not want to go through the shame of being the only person/co-worker not drinking a beer at a cookout because it makes you feel like an outsider in a society where we crave to fit it. It’s easy to get sucked into spending $300.00 at Target on things you think you need to make your home look like you are successful in life rather than doing without because that’s not where your worth lies. The point is that society pulls us into the whale and chains us there thinking that we are being successful in life in this darkness. Although, it is also there where we see that GOD’s light shines bright and shows us that only through HIM we are granted great freedom from the chains of society. Imagine how society would be different if we craved GOD’s acceptance as much as we hunger for societies.
In Jonah’s realization of GOD, the whale threw him up on the beach of Nineveh and GOD sent him to do HIS work. It took 3 days but the message was received quite clearly. The people started to repent and went into great mourning; from the king, down to the animals. GOD looked at HIS people and gave them great mercy due to their obedience to HIM. How is it that GOD gives unconditional compassion to all who repent, but we cannot give simple compassion in our everyday lives. We judge humans based on history not on the present and tend to think that this is okay. Think about the grudges we all see though out our own families. We are called to forgive and give grace, but we very easily keep a wall up around our hearts based on history. We see in Jonah at the end of his story that he did the same. Even though he did what GOD said, he wanted GOD’s wrath to be hailed on these sinners and when GOD showed mercy, Jonah was angry. It’s the same reaction that we have when someone has done us wrong and you see karma come back to them and secretly you do not feel bad at all because you feel like they deserve it. Through the last verses of Jonah, we see that GOD teaches Jonah that doing GOD’s work is only the beginning, your reaction to it and your ability to communicate humility and mercy are just as important.
Jonah goes up to the east side of the city and makes a shelter there. God arranges a big leaf to grow right over his shelter to provide shade for his comfort. God also provides a worm that eats the stem of the vine causing it die and making Jonah live in the harsh sun. Jonah thought he had a perfectly good right to be angry because the plant died but God tells him different. He says that you feel pity and concern for this plant even though you did not tend to it or make it grow. Why should I not have concern over 120,000 who are living in spiritual darkness? When you truly feel love for people you cannot help but live with compassion in your heart. Our love should be so strong for people around us, that our hearts should break at the thought of any of GOD’s children dying because they did not know HIM. God pointed out to Jonah in a simple way that it is very easy to be upset about our own comfort, but that we should feel more upset for the thousands of people who are destined to die because they do not understand the love of GOD. Every time you walk away and do not share GOD with someone, you are setting them up for ultimate doom and that should make you angry, not shade.
The story of Jonah echo’s the true love of GOD and that so much of HIS Glory can be found in our simple tasks. Jonah was taught not to judge people because of how they have sinned but instead to listen to GODs commands. He was shown that GOD will catch up with you anywhere, even the middle of the ocean and that GODs light is seen brighter in our own true darkness. Our compassion for people should run so deep that our stereotypes break away and we see them how GOD looks at them. God died for everyone, not just the people who choose to follow HIM. When we realize this, it is then that we experience our chains breaking from societies breed thoughts to GODs eye opening power. Don’t be afraid to go follow exactly what GOD tells you even if it alienates you to society because if GOD is for us, no one can ever stand against us.