“With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:6-8
The brief book of Jonah is action packed. He’s disobeying, running away, drowning, rescued by a huge fish, given a second chance, preaching, witnessing the amazing revival of a huge pagan city and pouts. Chapters 1 and 3 we find Jonah relating to others. In chapters 2 and 4 Jonah interacts with God alone. God pursues Jonah first inside a fish, and then under a vine on a hillside. And he keeps after him, and keeps after him, and keeps after him, why?
We could say this is a heart story. God is giving Jonah trials and the opportunities to learn to get his heart right. Jonah experiences God’s sovereignty, graciousness, mercy and compassion, but did he understand? It’s easy to get down on Jonah and it’s also easy to relate to him. There are times we don’t get our way, get angry and disobey. Just like Jonah our self is on the throne instead of God. God called King David a man after his own heart. But David lied, committed adultery, murdered, yet he was quick to repent, turn to God and worship him. David understood worship.
6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7 Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:6-8)
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
David sinned but his heart was humble. He knew God was God, and he let God be God in his life. Worship with our whole life comes down to our heart. To whom or what does our heart bow down? It took the deep dark depths in a fish for Jonah to remember God. He watched the revival of a city, repenting and fasting before God but his heart didn’t worship at this giving of mercy. The story of Jonah exposes some important things in his heart, what does it expose in yours? Gratitude? Humility? God desires our worship because he knows our heart and what it needs. Worship God for his mercy for you and for all people by listening to Jesus Only Jesus.
By Donna Burns