Get’em God!

Are you angry?  So many Americans- left and right, black and white, young and old – are very angry right now.  As we struggle to understand what is happening to our country, when we deal with bloody wounds from old injustices, fear grows and with it there often comes simmering anger. It has shown up on our streets, protests turning violent. It has shown up in our living rooms while we watch the chaotic events unfold on our TV screens. Anger has turned my Facebook into a window into angry hearts.  Anger has crept into many churches, too.

I think that the ‘Sons of Thunder,’ James and John might feel right at home with some Christians who are ready to join them in asking God to ran down fire on the earth!  Yes, that happened. One day as Jesus was traveling with his friends through Samaria, a village refused them hospitality. The prejudice and hostility between Jews and Samaritans went deep. Those men suggested a remedy. “When the disciples James and John saw this, they asked, “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” But Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they went to another village.” (Luke 9:54-56, NIV)

Are you tempted to pray for the Lord’s judgment to fall on those that you have made into an enemy, whomever that may be from your perspective? Are you tempted to pray “get’em God?”

God does not have His artillery aimed to give support to your battle line! Yes, He cares about justice for you. Yes, He is righteous and it matters to Him when His way is ignored. But, at this time, He is also loving, merciful, and redemptive, asking the same of all who claim His Name. Beware of slapping a “Jesus” endorsement on your persuasions, making whatever you think the only way that others can think if they are on ‘your side.’

The story of Jonah for most people is just about a rebellious preacher and a big fish but there is more to it. After God turned Jonah around from his flight to Tarshish, after He rescued him from the depths of the seas with a miraculous ride in a fish’s belly, the preacher went to Nineveh to preach. That city was the capital of Assyria, the growing empire that threatened Jerusalem and God’s people. Jonah hoped that he after his mission the city would laugh off his message and God would then judge and destroy Israel’s enemy. Something amazing happened. Those pagan people listened and repented.

That would be a cause for joy, right?  Think again. “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. 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, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?” (Jonah 3:10-4:4, NIV)

Jonah’s whiney prayer almost makes me laugh. “God, I just knew this was going to turn out this way. You’re so good, You forgive. Your love is big. I wanted these people dead and You refuse to do that, so just kill me!”  God spoke to the preacher even giving him an object lesson in grace, but Jonah’s story closes abruptly with the prophet still mad that God would not do what he wanted Him to do.

Let’s align our minds and hearts with the Lord’s desire. We need to turn our anger into fuel for passionate prayers for redemption, for the defeat of evil and the flourishing of the Spirit’s fruit – ‘love, joy, peace, patience.’  Christian, we must be like our Father in Heaven, persistent in grace and love. That does not mean we become people without conviction, that we are incapable of hard conversations involving truth, that we refuse to call sin what it really is. But, it does require that we seek peace, that we work towards reconciliation, that we avoid being co-opted by political groups that are interested more in power than in making a just society. And, our greatest desire remains to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which transforms sinners into saints, even as we live the Gospel ourselves.

Today perhaps the starting place for your prayer needs to be your own life. Do you need to confess your anger, repent of making God into Your God only, who cannot love the others with whom you disagree? Jesus taught us to “bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Matthew 5:44)  The Holy Spirit will help us to be obedient to that calling.  Will we?

Here is a word from the Word. In these lines we nothing of Jonah heart that prays for destruction. We see a Jesus heart that reaches out.

“All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to himself through what Christ did.
And God has given us the task of reconciling people to Him.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.
This is the wonderful message he has given us to tell others.

We are Christ’s ambassadors, and God is using us to speak to you.

We urge you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you,
“Be reconciled to God!”
(2 Corinthians 5:18-20, NLT)

________

Reckless Love

(worship with this song about His love)

Before I spoke a word
You were singing over me

You have been so so good to me
Before I took a breath
You breathed Your life in me

You have been so so kind to me

O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God
O it chases me down fights ’til I’m found
Leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it I don’t deserve
Still You give Yourself away
O the overwhelming never-ending reckless
Love of God

When I was Your foe still Your love fought for me
You have been so so good to me
When I felt no worth You paid it all for me
You have been so so kind to me
There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
Lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me

Caleb Culver | Cory Asbury | Ran Jackson © Watershed Publishing Group (Admin. by Watershed Music Group)

Bethel Music Publishing

Richmond Park Publishing

CCLI License # 810055

Published by Jerry Scott

I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a Dad to Jay, Sean, Christine, and Maribel. I am a Pastor at Faith Discovery Church. Jerry D. Scott

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