“Go to Ninevah, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me” (Jonah 1:2). You mean that place of cruelty and violence?
Was Jonah thinking like you might
if asked to deliver a message to South Chicago! So Jonah fled “from the presence of the Lord.”
Why, when he told the sailors “I fear the Lord.” Why when his prayer of repentance from the belly of the fish includes many passages from the Psalms, indicating that he had studied and stored the Word of God in his heart! In the uncertain days to come, will we find ourselves in situations with no Bible where we’ll be thankful for memorization we have done?
So why’d Jonah forget Psalm 139:7-8 noting that we can’t escape God’s presence! That fact is what saved Jonah’s life! In this fish tale of the one who didn’t get away.
Considering the attitudes of God’s messengers in His Bible can help us who are called to be His messengers in this end-time
What’s our attitude? Not always what it should be, especially in these dog days of summer scorchers when it’s so easy to become lethargic in fulfilling our message (Matt. 24:14), 28:18-20).
Jonah said why he ran in Jonah 4:2: He knew that God would be so merciful and spare Ninevah who would then defeat his people Israel. It looks like he thought that if he didn’t go to them, God would have no choice but to wipe them out, thus sparing Israel.
♥ We must know God and have His Word in our hearts.
♥ Our desire should be for those who have done wrong to change, not be punished.
♥ Their spiritual needs over our physical needs.
Hey, Moses, what’s your attitude?
He told God he wasn’t eloquent enough to be His messenger, when Stephen in Acts 7 said otherwise. Jeremiah argued he was too young. Paul told Timothy to not let anyone despise his youth. Today we are more likely to moan we are too old!
♥ No excuses!
We must answer God like Isaiah:
♥ “Here I am, send me!”
Every day we must answer God like Samuel:
♥ “Lord, your servant is listening!” What can I do to serve you today?
We shouldn’t try to work up good attitudes to be God’s messengers. It’s God’s Holy Spirit that makes it possible for us to be like Caleb (Num. 14:24) who
“thinks different and follows me completely” (New Century Version)
When Moses came down from the mount with the Ten Commandments, the people were romping in debauchery and God was primed in ire to wipe them out. Moses interceded and even volunteered to have his name blotted out of the Book of Life if God wouldn’t relent (Exo. 32:32-33). How like Paul when he said “I could wish myself accursed” for Israel (Rom. 9:3).
♥ We must love the people God sends us to give His message to.
Toward the end of his life—and the end of him leading the people into Canaan—Moses smote the rock twice instead of speaking to it. He was frustrated, lost his temper, and got careless. Maybe he thought his closeness to God gave him license to not follow His instructions carefully. God holds his leaders to stricter accountability—to set the right example.
♥ We must be careful to follow God’s instructions.
Hey, Ezekiel, what’s your attitude?
It’s interesting that God told His prophet, “Do not be rebellious like that rebellious house” (Ezek. 2:8). We’re from the same culture and society as ones God sends us to as messengers. When Jeremiah and Daniel prayed for their people to God, they said “We have sinned.” Were they just trying to sound humble? Who of us hasn’t—and still isn’t—sinning (1 John 1:8)?
When Abigail bowed before the charging David who was ready to wipe out Nabal, who was living up to his name, she told David to put it all on her (1 Sam. 25:24). Like Esther, she delivered her message with tact and master timing which is one-third wisdom.
♥ We must be humble because that’s whom God gives grace to.
John the Baptist was willing to decrease so that Christ would increase (John 3:30).
Jesus was the greatest messenger of God
and gave more be-attitudes than anybody. Perhaps summing up His message best: “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to finish His Work” (John 4:34, New International Version).
♥ Total commitment!
Go back through these loving attitudes of God’s messengers in the Bible and then let’s each ask ourselves:
Hey, messenger, what’s your attitude!