The Jonah Syndrome

The prophet Jonah and his resentment of the Ninevites.  He did not like the Ninevites.  He did not want to see God’s mercy given to them.  He did not want to preach to them, telling to repent of their sins or God will send judgment upon that city.  He tried to run away but God would not let him, so Jonah did what God had told him to do.  He preached repentance to the Ninevites, they believed and repented before God in sackcloth and ashes, and God showed them mercy.  Jonah was not pleased with this outcome and still was expecting judgment to fall upon Ninevah so he waited on a hill overlooking the city to watch it happen.  But it didn’t because God is merciful, and Jonah was angry.

If we are honest with ourselves there are times when we are not much different than Jonah but in a different context.  We call out false teachers like Joel Osteen, Steven Furtick, T.D. Jakes and others for their ear-tickling fodder.  We call them out because they are living fat off the “tithes” of their mesmerized and enthralled followers.  We hear them use and abuse the Word of God for selfish gain, saying what they ought not to teach for earthly gain.  We are sitting on that hilltop under the tree provided to us for shade and we are waiting for God’s judgment to rain down on them.

I am there now.  I bust my butt working 14 hours a day.  I give to the church and give extra when I can.  I am barely treading the financial water around me, barely keeping my chin above the waves.  I am floundering about looking for refuge but the waves just keep getting higher.  Every time I think I have made a step forward another bill or expense crashes over me and I am momentarily under the water.  Instead sowing generously so I can reap generously as 2 Corinthians 9:6 says, I sow bountifully and seem to reap more debt bountifully.

I am on the hilltop.  I am wondering why the wicked prosper, especially those who abuse the Word of God to reap earthly gain.  Those who spit on the bible so they can strip those who hang on the very words, their prophetic dreams, the promises of riches beyond imagination, only to be tossed aside when the well is dry, are living without worry, while I need to scrounge up what I can so I can buy food for my family.  I have heard the stories of people who promised God to give ten percent of their money and have been successful, and I don’t want to hear those stories any more.  I know all the promises and I know I need to rest in Him, but I am tired from treading water.

So, I am Jonah in chapter four.