The Message and The Messenger
A Walk Thru the Book of Jonah: Experiencing God's Relentless Grace
I found this excerpt online from a book titled, “A Walk Thru the Book of Jonah: Experiencing God's Relentless Grace”. I thought it was a fantastic excerpt to read and I wanted to share it with you …
“Long ago, one king wrote a message to send to the ruler of an offensive enemy kingdom. He sealed the message and gave it to one of his trusted couriers, who immediately began the dangerous ten-day journey to deliver it. Along the way, however, the messenger, who had long hoped his king would finally have the nerve to declare war on the enemy, became overwhelmed with curiosity and decided to unseal the letter. When he read it, he was stunned. Instead of the declaration of war he expected, it was a proposal for peace. He felt betrayed and even ashamed to deliver such an embarrassing token of weakness. He and his people would become a laughing stock, simply because an old king didn't have a backbone. After much thought, he decided to act in the best interests of the kingdom. He would bury the letter and return home with a well-crafted lie. His plan was interrupted, however, when a group of scouts from the enemy kingdom discovered him burying the missive. They seized him—and the letter—and carried both back to their ruler's palace. Surprisingly the message delighted the rival king, and a peace treaty was soon forged. And with the kingdoms now being on friendly terms, the messenger was released unharmed. But he remained bitterly disappointed, disillusioned, and reluctant to call anyplace his home.”
Do we own the message?
This excerpt follows the premise of the book of Yonah (Jonah) in the Tanakh (Old Testament). But, the above story takes the focus off of what Yonah was supposed to be doing, and instead asks a very different kind of question … Who owns the message? The one who delivers the message (AKA the messenger) or the one who authored the message?
Yonah felt he could refuse to deliver the message he was given to give since he had the message to give, even though the message was not his to do anything with other than what he was told to do with it. And, as most of us know the story of Yonah, he did not like it that Elohim would give such peace to a people who had so obviously hated Yisra’EL. And Yonah became so fueled by his bitterness at the situation with Nineveh that Elohim gave Yonah an object lesson with a vine and a worm. Yonah’s ethnocentric view of Nineveh blinded him to the heart of the matter … the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.
Ultimately, Yonah was one of the most effective prophets in the Tanakh. Elohim gave him a message to take to the Ninevites, and when Yonah ran away by taking passage on a ship, the sailors became Believers. And, then, when Yonah finally made it to Nineveh, hoping that Elohim would obliterate that city from the face of the Earth, the Ninevites repented.
What’s more, Yonah entered the city of Nineveh and cried out, “In forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown!” (Yonah 3:4). The Tanakh tells us that after that, the Ninevites believed Elohim and proclaimed a fast and repented of their wicked ways (Yonah 3:5-10). What it took Yesha’yah (Isaiah) and Yirmi’yah (Jeremiah) 118 total chapters to say to turn an apostate nation (Yisra’EL) back to Elohim, Yonah said in seven [American-English] words to the Ninevites. And, yet Yonah’s anger grew even more intense. And, as Yonah’s anger grew, Elohim’s compassion grew even more. Elohim revealed to Yonah what Elohim had already revealed to the city of Nineveh … His (Elohim’s) heart. The very last verse of Yonah (4:11), is Elohim asking of Yonah, “Shouldn’t I be concerned for Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred twenty thousand persons who can’t discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much livestock?”
Of course, that last question that Elohim asks is a rhetorical question; but, in its rhetoricalness- don’t know if that’s a word, but I’ll make it be one -we are left with a decision that must be made.
That decision? That choice? That answer?
Are we synchronized with our Creator Elohim’s desires? Are we seeing the bigger picture of Elohim’s purpose? Are our hearts aligned with Elohim’s heart for the whole world? Do we feel like the message is ours to do what we want to do with it, or do we understand fully that the message has been entrusted to us by Adonai, the Author and Finisher of the message (Mashiakim Yehudim (Hebrews) 12:2).
The heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.
Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha-olam, asher natan lanu et derekh ha’yeshua ba’Meshiach Yeshua. Baruch Hu. Amein.
Blessed are You, Adonai Eloheinu, King of the universe, Who gave to us the Way of salvation, through Yeshua ha-Meshiach. Blessed be He. Amen.