Sunday, August 18, 2002
Edifier du jour-Jonah 4:1-3;11(NASB)
1 But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD and said, "Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. 3 "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life." ... 11 "Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"I was listening to Sean Hannity on the way home this week, when he expressed a visceral disappointment that an assasination attempt on Qusay Hussein, Saddam's son, had failed. While the emotion was largely honorable, as the Hussein's aren't angles (eldest son Uday's the nasty heir-apparent, Qusay heads up the Republican Guard) , it still left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I wasn’t feeling a heck of a lot of love for my enemies at that moment when I was wishing an enemy dead. Nineveh is in modern-day Iraq, and Jonah was in Hannity's shoes, wishing his arch-enemy ill and feeling pain at their deliverance from God's wrath. He didn't want to go to the capital of Israel's enemy and give God the chance to redeem them. While his encounter with the big fish is the part of the book most people remember, it's Jonah's attitude about his enemy that God proceeds to Fisk at the end of chapter 4-"Shall I not be concerned about Ninevah?" God is a loving God, capable of loving the unlovable. Including Nineveh. Including the Hussein family. This isn't an argument against a war with Iraq, but a plea to look at our enemies as people rather than monsters, people who need Jesus as much as we do. That's not easy to do, but its a job we can do with the Holy Spirit's help.
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