Four Tools in God’s hand…

A storm, a fish, a plant and a worm.

Been meditating gently on Jonah recently. I think many of us can identify with a man who tries to run away from something he feels is hard for him to do.

God clearly called Jonah to preach a sermon of impending doom upon the Ninevites. He chose to go in the opposite direction.

You know the story well – how God caused His first tool – a great storm –  to arise around the ship that was ferrying Jonah away from his destiny, taking him to Tarshish, rather than to Nineveh. In desperation, the sailors threw Jonah overboard, where he was swallowed by the next “tool” in God’s story, a big fish.

Having survived inside the fish, God chose the exact moment when the fish vomited Jonah up – immediately after Jonah states “What I have vowed I will make good.  I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9)

Jonah has finally capitulated and done exactly what God asked him to do, but is angry that God had shown mercy to the people of Nineveh. It is as if Jonah is trying to tell God that the whole expedition was a complete waste of time, and becomes overly dramatic at God’s decision.

“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 4:2-3)

Having used a storm and a fish, God now chooses two more unlikely tools to teach Jonah- a plant and a worm.

“Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant[a] and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered (Jonah 4: 5-6)

It strikes me that each of these 4 tools – the storm, the fish, the plant and the worm – had just One Job to do. Each so very different, yet each completed the assigned task brilliantly. If any one of these things had gone wrong, the outcome would have been so different.

Sometimes we feel that God is calling us to something huge, impossible, not just out of our comfort zone, but out of our known universe! We might try to hide, run, deflect, avoid, reason, sidetrack, turn aside or ricochet ourselves out of the Path of Obedience. But God would much rather we just do the one job He asks of us.

Jonah was the specific tool God wanted to use all along, and when Jonah obeyed, it worked wonderfully.

It does not matter how qualified we might feel, or how useless we might consider ourselves to be. God prepared a worm to eat the leafy plant (Jonah 4:6), and it did its job to perfection. To anyone else it might have seemed that the worm was only doing what he had been created to do, but he did it wonderfully, at exactly the right time and place.

The lowly worm did Just One Job.

And you are of much greater worth than a worm ….

 

Lozenge moment

  • What has God called you to do?
  • Will you walk the Path of Obedience to that Call?
  • To what extent will you allow feelings of over qualification or unworthiness to affect this Call?
  • What do you think would happen if you just did what God said, straight away?
  • Remember Mary’s advice in John 2:5 …

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