November 12 I Friday
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” —2 Timothy 3:16-17
Jonah’s tale gives us everything we would expect in a good storyline. The plot begins with his rebellion in chapter one, running away from God’s calling for him. In chapter two, Jonah is swallowed by a huge fish and cries out to God in his distress. Then, in chapter three, Jonah obeys what God originally called him to do and goes to Nineveh preaching a message of salvation. Finally, the people of Nineveh repent of their ways, and God shows His mercy, love and compassion to them by relenting to bring destruction upon them. Jonah went from zero to hero, which, according to Hollywood standards, would make a great movie.
Yet, the book of Jonah does not end after three chapters. In chapter four, we get Jonah’s response to the previous events; instead of delighting in the people of Nineveh repenting, Jonah becomes angry with God. This is not a flattering ending, but as the Apostle Paul tells us in the New Testament, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Even though chapter four does not end on a high note, God moves Jonah by His Spirit to pen those words because God is a truth teller.
As we examine Scripture, we find that it is full of unflattering truths about people. For example, Noah was a righteous man in God’s sight; hence, God chose him to help restart the earth after the flood. But soon afterwards, Noah got drunk from wine that he made. Another example is David, famously known as “a man after God’s own heart.” However, when we look at David’s life, we see that he was an adulterer, a murderer and an absentee father. Even with Jesus, we find a woman who was a prostitute in His ancestral line.
The Bible is always true about its characters, which is informative when we are called to reconsider the legacies and truths about people, leaders and institutions. As Christians who read the Bible and see this honesty on display all the time, we have a special voice and a unique perspective into what we see in the world today. From our experience of Scripture, we are to tell the whole truth about people’s legacy. One does not just flatter for the sake of flattery.
In many ways, Jonah’s shortcomings remind us that we are all works in progress. Becoming a Christian happens at a point in time, but it is also an ongoing process. We may not be perfect in this life, but we strive moment by moment to submit our lives to God’s correction, preparation and equipping.
Prayer: Precious Lord, thank You for Your Word that is truth. Even though the truth may not be flattering, I am grateful for the reminder that we are all works in progress. I submit my life to Your correction, preparation and equipping.