God’s Word is brimming with imperfect people. Noah (a drunkard), Ruth (a pagan), Paul (a murderer), Rahab (a prostitute), Abraham (a doubter), Peter (a firecracker). At first glance, it doesn’t make sense. Why would the Creator of the Universe choose the ragtag brigade to bring His Good News into the world? Why not choose the polished, the qualified, the eloquent?
If you grew up around church, undoubtedly you experienced the flannel board version of Jonah. It’s a pretty fun story when you’re five…a guy gets swallowed by a fish. There’s a lot more to the this tiny book of the Bible, though. As I studied along with She Reads Truth, I found myself identifying an awful lot with Jonah.
He ran away from God’s calling. I do that a lot.
He made excuses not to obey God. Guilty.
He got angry when God gave grace to people who Jonah thought were undeserving. Ouch. I do this too.
In Chapter 1, Jonah flat out flees when God asks him to go to Ninevah (read: the Las Vegas of Bible times) and tell the Ninevites to repent and turn to the Lord. Not only did Jonah refuse to go to Ninevah, he fled like crazy to Tarshish…a long ways away in the total opposite direction.
Even then, the Lord pursued Jonah through a storm and a whale’s belly. This is so encouraging to me. Even though Jonah was a hot mess, God didn’t give up on him. The Lord didn’t say, “Oh well. I’ll get someone else to do the job.” He went after Jonah because He wanted Jonah. Even though I too am a hot mess, God still pursues me. He wants me.
God doesn’t choose the qualified because then there would be no need for grace. He chooses the least and the lowliest because our inadequacy shows His magnificence. He wants imperfect people. He uses imperfect people.
He shows us ridiculous grace because that’s in His nature. Like Jonah, we don’t deserve the compassion of God when we’re headstrong and defiant. Even though God could have struck Jonah dead when he was disobedient, He didn’t. Even though God could have chosen someone different to take His message to Ninevah, He didn’t.
2 Corinthians 12:9
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.
God gives grace. Ridiculous, lavish, undeserved grace. To stubborn men in the belly of fish and to the likes of you and me.
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