Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”- Jonah 3:4
As John Ortberg continues Chapter 8 of All the Places to Go, he observes that the story of Jonah is “left on a strange, unresolved, discordant note”- on purpose. Pastor Ortberg emphasizes that the dissonant word in the story is evil– something is wrong with God’s world.
However, Jonah is quite uncooperative. Jonah doesn’t like the Ninevites. His lack of love has him running the other way. As John quips, Jonah only goes up to Nineveh “when it is clear the alternative is to become a living sushi bar.” Even so, Jonah’s message to the Ninevites is decidedly uninspiring.
“Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” That’s it- no illustration, no application, no edification. Jonah puts no effort into his message. But it works! God is filled with compassion, but Jonah can’t take it. Pastor Ortberg comments: “What is great to God- grace to Nineveh- is great evil to Jonah.”
The author says declaring judgment is easy for Jonah. His lack of love for the people God’s open door leads him to makes him want to run from that door. Pastor Ortberg applies this life lesson to us:
“Lack of love makes it easy for me to say no to the door.”
Today’s question: Has lack of love made it easy for you to say no to God’s open door? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Our response to God”