The Jonah Commission – Day Ten
Day 10. RACING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION
Read Jonah 1:3. Jonah asked Cain’s question, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ The spirit of Cain is jealousy, spite, and envy. You may not be your ‘brother’s keeper’, but you are ‘your brother’s brother’! Ignore this and you may run from God’s best for your life. Jonah wasn’t sacked, he quit his job, and went off to sea in the wrong direction! We’ve all felt some sympathy for Jonah.
Put yourself in Jonah’s shoes. Who’d want to risk all in an unknown country, carrying a ‘lousy’ sermon for a very unsympathetic audience, a long way from home? A people you’ve hated all your life? Ans: No one! Would you like God to send you to the Ayatollah in Iran, or President Assad in Syria, or on a trip to Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, or Afghanistan? I recently rang a friend who sneaked into Southern Iran, since he looks quite Iranian, but isn’t. That friend has nearly been killed, secretly preaching there, and is now banned on pain of imprisonment or death, from crossing their borders ever again. He told me, ‘I believe you will one day be preaching in Iran too, Greg.’ My heart missed a beat. I’ve still not had a chance to visit as yet!
We’d rather send our enemies portions of the Bible in the post via the Scripture Gift Mission, than go there ourselves! We’d rather give hostile people a very wide berth. But God doesn’t just send the cold print of the Bible, he sends someone who’s carrying one, ready to preach its message so it comes alive in God’s love to his enemies.
We live in a world of entrenched hatred and unforgiveness towards old enemies. Jews hate Arabs, Arabs hate Jews, Serbians hate Albanians. Koreans hate the Japanese. White Supremacists hate Blacks. Jonah hated Assyrians! You’d think Jonah would have been thrilled to announce their doom then! But Jonah suspected God was up to something quite different in sending him east. There’s always the possibility that God has something more wonderful in mind for his enemies than destroying them. After all, he had good intentions for you! But Jonah, quite literally couldn’t give a damn!
Ask God to change you, and make you willing and able to love people you’ve previously avoided or even shunned. He will soon send each one of us somewhere, sometime, to bring about their conversion!