Was yesterday’s Advent thought harder to accept? I am glad you came back. Stick with us as we learn more about preparing our hearts for Christmas.
The angels sang in Bethlehem, “Peace on Earth and good will towards men,” but yesterday we saw that God prepares a feast for us in the presence of our enemies. No one likes the idea of facing conflict.
Jonah knew the Lord was gracious and merciful, but he also knew a thing or two about enemies. Jonah had seen people from Nineveh murder Hebrew women and children and burn their towns to the ground. The people of Nineveh were Israel’s archenemies. Thus, when God ordered Jonah to preach in Nineveh, Jonah ran in the opposite direction. The last thing Jonah wanted was to see Jehovah offer mercy to these ruthless people.
Yet there is plenty of evidence that God was at work preparing a path for Jonah. In Jonah 1:17, we learn, “Now the Lord had arranged for (prepared) a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.” God had no intention of letting Jonah drown.
And in 4:6-8, “And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. ‘Death is certainly better than living like this!’ he exclaimed.”
Note how God prepared a whale, a plant, a worm and a wind to teach Jonah. What circumstances are you facing that appear to be negative? Could it be that God has a purpose behind them? Preparing our hearts for Christmas includes cultivating a teachable spirit.