REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional was first posted on July 11, 2014.
Devotional Thoughts for This Morning
“The Cost of Following God”
Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” 5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city.
What is our response when things don’t go as we want? This is the question that confronts us when we look at today’s text.
Here, we find Jonah who seemingly completed the task that God had commissioned him to do. He certainly proclaimed judgment against the Ninevites and in response, they repented; as a result, God spared them. But Jonah was livid, for this was what he feared would happen. By acquiescing to the Lord, the Ninevites, whom Jonah felt deserved wrath, were given mercy. In reaction, he asks the Lord to take his life. This is how extreme Jonah’s anger is towards God and His pouring of mercy on people who clearly did not deserve it.
When we look at Jonah, it’s easy to dismiss him as someone who is bitter and unloving, but that is too dismissive of what God is revealing through this story. Jonah presents a mirror to all of our true desires. In our desire to follow the Lord, can we truly say, “Lord, have your way?”
To be honest, what I’ve found is that there is both increasing difficulty as well as ease when we say, “Lord, have your way.” Following the Lord sometimes means that even though you did all the right things, trouble and persecution may ensue. That is, your obedience causes others to be upset at you; the more you obey, the more this potential increases. However, the comfort comes with knowing that God is the one who is leading you. There is a level of trust and hope that allows us to be okay with whatever happens as long as God is the one who brings it about. (e.g., 2 Samuel 24:14)
This morning, let’s be reminded of looking to the Lord in whom we trust and not to the result. If following the Lord results in difficulties or hardships, let us remember that the Lord is still in control; let the hope in Him arise.
Prayer: God, following You is difficult at times. Sometimes the results of obedience are too much to bear. Renew my hope in You so I can follow wherever You lead me. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Ezekiel 38
Lunch Break Study
Re-read the passage for this morning’s devotion.
Read Ephesians 4:30-32: “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and give no opportunity to the devil.”
Questions to Consider
- Why was Jonah waiting outside the city?
- According the Ephesians 4 text, is it wrong to feel angry?
- What is the stern warning against anger that is allowed to fester and simmer?
- Jonah was waiting to see whether or not the destruction of Nineveh would occur. He sure wasn’t hoping that God would turn from his indignation.
- Anger itself is not wrong, but what we do with it and how we let it fester is wrong. There is an allowance of anger as a righteous response [“Jesus looked around at them in anger (Mk. 3:5)] as well as an emotional response. Whatever the reason however, in our anger we should not sin.
- It leaves room for the devil to cause roots of bitterness, dissension, and temptations.
In following the Lord, has there been any outcome that was contrary to what you expected? Has it caused any roots of bitterness and anger? Tonight, let’s reflect on the goodness of God and His overwhelming love for us. Let’s ask God to increase our trust and hope in Him so that we would be okay with whatever may happen.