This AM at The New Church of Peachtree City, Pastor David was away – so one of the “youth guys” – Mr. Jonathan Goolsbee filled in with a great message taken from the chapter of Jonah (specifically book 4:1-11 – see below). The story of Jonah is a well-known one – Jonah was told one thing by God, choose not to listen, and ended up in the belly of a big fish. He then does was he was told, but again half-heartedly. God tries again to get through to him and use different illustrations to prove His point. Throughout this book God shows His love, compassion, and mercy for Jonah (us – His people!)
It got me thinking, how lucky are we that our God is so compassionate and patient with us? (Very!) I know that after a full day with my beautiful gifts from God (my children) my patience is wearing thin, and well compassion isn’t always at the forefront of my mind. But our God tolerates us and again and again shows us the way. Even when we are beat down and angry at the world. And yes – sometimes it takes being swallowed up by a big fish to get our attention!
The song that came to mind today for me is Mighty to Save, especially the verse – “everyone needs compassion” There are a few versions – but this is my favorite by Laura Story:
The text for today’s sermon:
“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” 10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?””
One last thing that stuck with me about the text today – is the very last line of verse 11 “…and also many animals.” If you haven’t figured out I am a dog/animal lover. God has given me the compassion for animals and I truly feel that is what I am called to do. But I love this verse because it shows that God too has compassion for animals and says He has concern for them (after all He did create them all!). Seems like a no-brainer to me – but I love having verses to go to that solidifies the desires of my heart to help those who cannot speak, but are also God’s creation and near to His heart too. Not mentioned in the sermon – but little bonus for me this AM!
Blessings for a wonderful week! Thank you for reading!