Digging in Deeper: Jonah 4:10-11

“So the Lord said, ‘You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. But may I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?’”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

What do you care about most? Don’t just go with the first thing that comes to mind. What is the thing on which you’ll spend the most money? To what do you give the bulk of your time? About what do you get the most worked up in the shortest time? The answer to those questions will point you in the direction of what is truly your greatest concern. What we see here at the end of Jonah is a glimpse at what is most important to God.

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Morning Musing: Jonah 3:10

“God saw their actions — that they had turned from their evil ways — so God relented from the disaster he had threatened them with. And he did not do it.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

One of the greatest Christmas movies of all time (after Die Hard) is Home Alone. And whether you agree with me or not, it is a fact that it’s the third highest grossing Christmas movie ever (behind the recent remake of The Grinch at number two and Iron Man 3 running away with the top spot). In any event, one of my favorite scenes comes right at the very end when Kevin walks downstairs Christmas morning and finds his mom standing there. She apologizes earnestly for their forgetting him when they left on vacation and there’s this moment where it looks like he’s deciding whether to forgive her or not. Then he breaks into a big grin and everybody lives happily ever after (except the bad guys). That scene could have been inspired by what happens here in Jonah.

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Morning Musing: Joel 3:3

“They cast lots for my people; they bartered a boy for a prostitute and sold a girl for wine to drink.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

The God revealed in the pages of the Scriptures is a God of justice. Justice is one of a small group of characteristics that are primary for Him. That is, they are the qualities from which His various other character traits can be derived. When it comes to the judgment announced in the prophets, most often they are connected to violations of one of these primary characteristics. This is a perfect example. And when it comes to matters of justice involving children, God takes these particularly seriously.

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Digging in Deeper: Joel 2:13

“Tear your hearts, not just your clothes, and return to the Lord your God. For he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and he relents from sending disaster.”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you are a parent of two or more, you’ve been through this experience before I imagine: One of your kids does something ugly to another of your kids. What do you do? You make them apologize for what they did. And what do they do? If your kids are like mine, they look disgusted at this instruction, and quickly mumble a meager, “Sorry,” whose inflection makes clear they’re not really sorry at all. And that’s okay, because the exercise of apologizing when you’ve done something wrong is what’s really important in that moment. But relationally speaking, that kind of apology doesn’t accomplish very much. It doesn’t with God either.

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Digging in Deeper: Joel 2:12, 14

“Even now — this is the Lord’s declaration — turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, weeping, and mourning…Who knows? He may turn and relent and leave a blessing behind him, so you can offer grain and wine to the Lord your God.”
— ‭‭Joel‬ ‭2:12, 14‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

On occasion our youngest will do something ornery. He’s only five and a pretty sweet kid, so it’s not like he ever does but so much to get into trouble. But every now and then he’ll get out of line. Often on these occasions, we are more amused by what he’s done than upset and so we really aren’t looking to punish him. When he knows this he’ll grin really big at us with a little light in his eyes. He does this because he knows what’s coming. We smile back at him and say, “It’s a good thing you’re cute.” That’s a little like what we see here.

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