So there’s such a thing as running from God in our obedience as well as in our disobedience. Even when Jonah obeys God’s call, it becomes clear that his heart’s not in it.
It’s possible to do the right thing with the wrong heart—and when we do that, it proves we don’t know the heart of God.
Tchividjian, Tullian (2010-04-23). Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels (p. 122). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
This speaks to me today. I really don't want to go into why. But just the idea that we are justified because we (fill in the blank), God is pleased is so ridiculous. It reminds me of the parable where a father sends his two sons to go and work in the field.
28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work inthe vineyard today.’ 29 And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went.30 And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. 32 For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.
Imagine the reaction of the listeners. It is likely that the chief priests and elders were among the crowd. Surely they thought that Jesus was full of himself. Imagine saying that tax collectors and prostitutes would gt into the kingdom of God before them! Wouldn't most of us be just as indignant if we heard words like this today? But has the nature of man changed so much that the same words are not still true?
True obedience in the Bible never means mere external compliance to God’s rules. Obedience that honors God flows from a heart that loves him and wants nothing more than to please him by doing everything he asks.
And yet, although Jonah’s obedience was so flawed, God still used him to accomplish his purpose in Nineveh. That should continue to encourage us.
Tchividjian, Tullian (2010-04-23). Surprised by Grace: God's Relentless Pursuit of Rebels (p. 123). Crossway. Kindle Edition.
And yet there is hope. I wonder what ever happened to Jonah. Did this experience change him? Did he finally get it? There is always hope.