Jonah, assisted by my favorite devotion authors Chambers and Spurgeon, instructed me this morning. As I read of Jonah's actions, several things popped out. His disobedience put the other ship-men in danger. When we disobey, we do the same. Their hearts are interesting (and instructive). They sought to understand Jonah, humbly approached God and immediately worshipped when they saw God act. Jonah on the other hand was oblivious to his impact (initially), not interested in understanding, holding fast to his (logical) disobedience and took three days to cry out to God. Sometimes those of us who have received the most from God are hard to His glory.
Then as we go into Nineveh, we see more of Jonah's heart. Reluctantly obedient (and for reasons we could all relate to but that's another devo), he gives God's message. Jonah resents the receptiveness of the Ninevites. He would like to exact the debt he feels they owe. He wants to reflect on them what he has felt from them--rather than be a reflector of the generosity of God. Perhaps his heart would have softened had he seen their sins as a tool in the hand of God to change his own heart instead of an affront to his standards?
So here's my take-aways: We cannot comprehend all that God gives us--well, truth is we seldom try to comprehend it. We just take for granted all that He gives us. We are quite adept, though, at assessing what others owe...to us and to God. Demanding our rights, insisting on our ways and opinions--those are miserly, human reactions to what is happening around us. Instead of that, our hearts need to rejoicingly obey God with confidence in His promises. We need to reflect the lavish love we have received because holding it in makes us hard. Let's step out in faith!