"Jonah was a prophet, oo oo
But he really never got it, sad but true
If you've been watching, you can spot it, a doodley-doo
He did not get the point!"
For those of you who are moms and whose kids love the Veggie Tales movie, "Jonah," you'll recognize those crazy lyrics. For many of you, you've probably heard those lyrics one too many times and will now go away irritated with me for making that song pop into your head and stay there longer than you want. Sorry. :)
What's the point? For those of you not familiar with the story, Jonah was a prophet of God in the Old Testament under the old covenant of the Mosaic law (the Ten Commandments and the laws in Deuteronomy and Leviticus). Jonah's job was basically that of divine mailman. He delivered God's messages to the people of Israel. Sometimes God's messages were encouraging, sometimes they were meant to straighten out the Israelites. One day, God told Jonah to go to Ninevah and deliver a message. Now Ninevah was not a part of Israel. The Israelites, including Jonah, believed that God's covenant protection and blessings were reserved specifically and solely for the Israelites. Ninevah was a raucous city (think Las Vegas, only worse) and the people of Ninevah were none too friendly to outsiders but they were especially harsh to the Israelites.
Think about this for a second. During the Old Testament, under the Mosaic law, God wanted Jonah to go to Ninevah and tell them to repent of their sins. God wanted to show mercy and compassion to a sinful city that was not part of His covenant and treated His people like dirt. Wow. This is before Jesus. Before the new covenant. Before grace. This is before Jesus died for our sins and made us righteous before God through His sacrifice. God wanted to reach out to those who were not His chosen people and extend mercy and compassion. How amazing.
What's even more amazing is that after running away from God, almost drowning, getting swallowed by a whale (or big fish, depending upon your translation), Jonah still did not want God to show mercy to the Ninevites. He did not want to share God's grace. Oh, he delivered God's message all right but after the Ninevites repented, Jonah picked out a spot to watch the fireworks of God's judgment and wrath that he was sure were to come. After receiving God's mercy instead of His judgment, Jonah still expected God to destroy the Ninevites instead of showing them mercy and compassion as a result of their repentance. He did not get the point.
What is the point? God is a loving Father Who wants to be reconciled to all of His children. It doesn't matter who you are, what you've done, what religion you consider yourself a part of. You are a child of God, made in His image and He wants nothing more than to shower you with His mercy and compassion. He doesn't want to punish you for all the sins you've committed. No, Jesus already took that punishment for you so that you wouldn't have to. All God sees when He looks at you is Jesus. He sees rightousness and grace. Wow.
Will you get the point today? I hope so. I know I have to remind myself sometimes. :)