Do You Do Well, Joe?

Do You Do Well, Joe?

Over the first five weeks of the fall, we studied the book of Jonah with the Main Adult Sunday School class. There are many lessons about the hardness of the human heart and the loving compassion of God in those four short chapters. Below is a short recap that hopefully will inspire you to dig deep into this book and God’s word.

I hope it also encourages anyone on the fence to join us Sunday mornings at 9:00 AM as we go through God’s Word together. It is a gold mine of hope, encouragement and calls to action.

God:
Do you do well to disobey me, Joe?
My command was certain that you should proclaim, mercy to your enemies—those whom you hate.
Their evil hearts before me, condemn them to eternal shame.
Warn sinners of my coming judgment, their sin before God, not man.
Was it wise for you to try and thwart my plan?

Have I been unreliable? Have my commands ever failed in the past?
Am I the God of optional plans that bend upon fate and man?

Joe:
Yes I do well, God!
I know you are reliable, and that’s why I’m disobeying.
Your plan must be wrong. What you command has a flaw.
Those evil wicked people, deserve death that’s why I’m flying

[God pursues Joe and exposes his sin and disobedience. But rather than repenting of his sin, Joe would rather continue in his rebellion (Jonah 1:4-16)]

God:
Joe, do you do well in the midst of the storm? Do you do well to give up on your life?
Your disobedience was for naught.
None can run from my presence, don’t you know?
I have pursued you with trials and exposed you with man’s devices.
My plans are never thwarted by feeble disobedience, or have you forgot?

Joe, do you do well to want death over repentance? Don’t you see you are in the wrong? You disobeyed me, and are embracing the consequences.

Joe:
Yes, I do well! I will not obey.
I’d rather be dead than see goodness extended.
You must be missing how evil these sinners are.
They don’t deserve mercy, that’s why I am justified
I’m sparing them from your mercy, from being Your children they are protected

I will die now; I am indifferent.
To the pit I will go; cast me in it.

[Joe in the pit and the depths of his sin (Jonah 1:15-2:10]

Joe:
God, please help!
I went into the deep. I hit rock bottom. My life was almost done.
And in those final breaths, one thing was on my heart—it was not disobedience.
Save me God! You are my rock and hope.
Dead men can’t praise you.
Let these lunges breathe anew, my life I give to you.

God:
You are forgiven, though the grave you deserve. I will be merciful,
To the depths of the sea, your transgressions are removed.
And your life, I will spare, transport you back to earth
Now do well to obey me. It’s is truly for your best.
The mercy you’ve received is not greater than the rest.

[Joe obeys, God saves evil sinners, but Joe gets angry (Jonah 3:1-4:4)]

God:
Do you do well to be angry at me, Joe? Is your anger right?

Joe:
Yes I am right, God. Yes I am justified.
I wanted to save you from extending your mercy. I wanted to help you avoid giving grace.
That thing that you did was totally not right.
You saved sinful people, they weren’t even your own children. You made yourself dirty by extending your grace.
This thing done is evil!
I knew you would do it, it’s why I disobeyed at the first.
I wanted to save you from being tarnished,
These dirty sinners make you look the worse.
You were meant to stay pure and clean and only to extend grace to good people like me.

[Joe sits down in hope that God will bring judgment to the evil sinners. God gives Joe some comfort in the form of a thing then takes the thing away after a day. Joe gets angry (Jonah 4:5-11)]

God:
Do you do well to be angry about losing that thing, Joe?
I gave it to you then took it away. You didn’t earn it or make it.
What right do you have to be so upset?
That thing you love, is it worth such a fit?

Joe:
Yes, Yes, Yes I do!
That thing gave me comfort. That thing gave me joy.
I loved that thing. That thing protected me.
It’s not fair. It’s not just.
How can you take away what I love most?
Death is preferred to the injustice of this life!
Why live in a world where things flee from me as a ghost.

God:
Joe, do you see the problem? It’s in your heart.
You think things that you love are top on my chart.
You think things that you hate, I should hate too.
You want me to be God, but God in Joe’s shoes.
You’ve dreamed me up to be someone like you. But I’m not.
Joe, you think you are clean and deserving of mercy, and think no one below you could ever be worthy.
You want people to earn my love and affection, but have you done anything to earn me?
You love your little comfort things more than people. How is that anything but evil?
You’d rather see judgment on souls than my love to win.

I am not you, Joe. I am God.
Everything I do is right and just.
I have mercy on those I will and I extend judgment on the unrepentant.
My ways are higher. My ways are greater.
Your low opinion of me makes you worthy of the grave.
Do you not see the grace all around you? What did you do to receive it from me?
Was it your status or work, or family tree? No, I gave you mercy when you deserved death. You were down in the pit, and I gave you a lift.
You are not better. You are not more worthy.
So, stop playing judge and jury.

Joe:
God, I am broken. You’ve exposed my sin. I do love my things more than souls,
my heart is sick from within.
You are God, I am not. You get to choose who deserves your mercy.
My sick heart cannot match your grace.
I will write of your compassion upon my poor life.
It will not be pretty, from this sinner’s perspective,
But God, you will shine, your compassion overflowing.

Word in Season