Obedience of faith is expressed in exercising great discipline in the power of the Holy Spirit, completely obedient to God’s word, which includes the law and even more, beginning with the law of love.
A wise person lives in humility, submitting their life to God, allowing the Holy Spirit to inform and conform their thoughts, their feelings and thereby their words and actions.
Instead of spending a lot of energy on religious rituals and ceremonies, the Lord wanted God’s people to put their love into action.
Anger was eating Jonah up just like the worm had eaten up the vine. You and I might start out being angry at the big things, but unresolved anger just sits there waiting to be triggered until it comes screaming out over every little thing.
Through the dark of night, unseen and unheard, as Jonah slept peacefully, the balance shifted, and the plant began to die. By morning, there was nothing left but the shriveled remains of what once was.
When the Hebrew language speaks of God “repenting,” the word most often is “nacham,” referring to inner suffering that needs to be consoled.
The fundamental movement of the Lord was to move God’s people from bondage to freedom, from objectification as enslaved persons to beloved people in relationship with the Almighty Sovereign and God of the Cosmos.
The truth is, it seemed Jonah would rather have died than turn back and sail for Joppa to begin his journey to Nineveh. But, God was not asking Jonah to give his life to the sea in death. God was asking him to give his compassion to the enemies of his people.
God is true to character, God is just and righteous, and calls God’s people to be the same. The Lord is also merciful. Only eternity will reveal how much and how often the Lord has spared God’s people because of the often hidden prayers offered up as intercession.
What happens when God’s people lose touch with God’s values and God’s character? They do not stop being God’s people. But. They do experience a profound disconnection from God. Instead of experiencing and living out the exuberant joy of shalom, they create and participate in systems that harm.