Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rebellious Faith

My heart was pounding. Each breath echoed in my ears, throbbing with each pulse. My parent's voices called from far away; nearer, then further. As I hid in the rocks with my brother and cousins, my heart twisted with guilt. The plan was to go to Mt. Rushmore and watch the evening film. We had decided not to go, so we hid. Our parents, of course, wouldn't leave.  Eventually we gave ourselves up.

As I read the story of Jonah this week, I was reminded of that willful disobedience; of the heart that pounds with terror in its rebellion. Jonah disobeyed because he believed God. In his own words, "I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity" (4:2). It was Jonah's faith in God's mercy that caused him to disobey.

As I thought about Jonah's disobedience ("he rose up to flee...from the presence of the LORD" (1:3 (2 times!), 1:10), I was questioned my own reaction to God's commands. When, through the voice of a Bible teacher, a friend, or God's Word, I hear the voice of God, how do I respond? The worst case scenario would be apathy; not to respond at all. Jonah's rebellion--a selfish, sinful response--at least carried an element of faith. He knew God, he believed God, and wanted no part of it.

How often do we fail to respond because we really don't know God, we really don't believe God, we really don't care? That is ever so much more frightening. That, I believe, is a sign of spiritual death. We cannot process the word of God, we cannot respond to the word of God, because there is no Spirit of God to empower His word. Much like an electric circuit, without a conductor (Jesus Christ, "abide in me and I in you" (John 15:4), we cannot respond to God. We are dead (Ephesians 2:5, "we were dead in our transgressions") outside of repentance and a relationship with God.

If you find that you are drawn to God, but do not know Him personally, check out the post on this site from April 2008, "How Much is Too Much?" And, if you find yourself fleeing from the presence of the LORD today, consider the God from whom you are fleeing. What is it you believe about Him? Search out the Scriptures on your own or with a trusted friend and find that Good Shepherd who longs to give you abundant life. After all, He is "...a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity" (4:2).

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