An Emoji Devotions The 8th June, 2021 Topic: Jonah, get real! by H. U. Wenger Highlights: Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 23:24) Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139, 7 – 16) I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. (Jonah 2:4 – We all know the story of Jonah. He receives the word of the Lord to go to Nineveh to announce them God’s judgment, but Jonah runs away. He hates the Assyrians, who were well known as brutal warriors and oppressors. He is fully aware of his calling and of his prophetic authority. He knows that his preaching would cause the Assyrian to repentance and that their turning around would provoke God’s grace and mercy. The beginning of Chapter 4 reveals his heart: But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah knows that he got created by God for a time like this, but he lacks the love. He is craving for retaliation and revenge. He wants to see disaster pouring down on Israel’s enemies. The hatred in him and his anger over God’s love deceive him into his futile running away from God. On that journey he experiences not only the love and forgiveness of God and men, but also God’s wonderful grace and mercy in his spectacular salvation through a fish. His insight that those, who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them, has not yet changed his heart. What he enjoys for himself, he wants to deny to people he does not like. He rather wants to die himself than to witness God’s love for them. Isn’t it time for Jonah to get real? Isn’t it time for Jonah to allow the love of Jesus to enter his heart and to love his enemies? What grudges do I harbor in my heart? What hinders the love of God to flow through me? We all are created for a time like this. Let us not run away from our prophetic authority, but let our hearts be filled with the love of God, who craves salvation for every human being and for his whole creation. Prayer: Dear God, let me cling to your word and fill my heart with your love. Beware me from being judgmental to the point that I am getting blind for grace and mercy. Let me rejoice over the salvation of my enemies and give me a double portion of love for them. Amen.