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Sunday, July 31, 2005

Word For The Week

When I was a doolie at the Air Force Academy we had certain people that were referred to as muck-magnets, only we used much more colorful language. These were the people who, no matter what the situation, would somehow mess up and draw all kinds of negative attention to themselves. Much like the character Private Pyle that Vincent D'Onofrio played in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket they seem to have a knack for screwing up at the most inopportune times, and everyone around them has to suffer because of their screw-ups. Have you ever known a muck-magnet?

The prophet Jonah became a muck-magnet when he intentionally disobeyed the direct command of God. God told him to go to Nineveh to preach against the wickedness that was Assyria, but Jonah chose to go in the opposite direction. Completely.

It's not that you can really blame Jonah from a natural perspective. The Assyrians were the most powerful nation on the earth in that day. They had the most powerful military and the strongest economy. Assyrian culture was exported and imposed on all of their neighbors and their neighbors resented the Assyrian interference with their societies - and they had to pay the Assyrians tribute in order to keep the Assyrians from invading (think: "protection" racket). The Assyrian people grew fat, lazy, and debauched in their supremacy over all other nations and God commissioned a prophet to tell them that their days of reigning supreme were coming to an end, that they would be scattered like sheep without a shepherd and subject to the same societies that they currently subjugated. Can you imagine a Chaldean being called by God to go to Washington D.C. and preaching judgment against America and George W. Bush? I'm sure that Jonah thought about how he would be received and said, "Thanks, but no thanks" and headed straight for the seaport.

But Jonah found out that God is in the hijacking business, because before Jonah could get to his destination in Tarshish God had another word for him. This word didn't come in audible form and it didn't come in a vision. It came in the form of storm that seasoned sailors had never encountered or endured. It came in the form of gale-force winds that stretched the seams of their sails and stressed their souls. It came in the form of fifty-foot waves that wounded waxed wood and wrecked their world. It came as a wake-up call for Jonah because Jonah thought that he could go somewhere to escape the presence and power of the LORD, but there is nowhere that you can go where God can't find you. Like the psalmist said, "Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there." There is nowhere that you can go where God can't reach out and touch you, so God jacked Jonah between Joppa and Tarshish.

The sailors soon discerned that Jonah was indeed the source of their stressful situation, and they tried everything within their might to save the ship. Once they discovered the futility of self-help in a God-ordained situation they submitted to the will of God and chucked Jonah overboard, and immediately there was peace in the deep. We need to help people as best as we can, but sometimes God is trying to get their attention and the best thing that we can do for them and ourselves is to cut them loose. We have to do our due diligence to make sure that that is indeed the case, but having discerned God's will we will on occasion have to chuck some folks overboard. When the Word of God says to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, invite in the stranger, clothe the naked, comfort the sick, love on the imprisoned, while certain leaders say, "Nah, we're taking Saddam out instead!" we may need to chuck them overboard. Don't worry about them - God has a fish waiting for them...

May The LORD bless you and keep you;
May the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
And may the LORD,
Who has a fish waiting for the disobedient,
My He turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 11:00 AM

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I was just thinking when reading this, about people who insist on "rocking the boat"...constantly, violently, to the extent that many *other* people are jumping ship. Would seem like a much more humane response to just throw the offending party olerboard.

Overboard, I mean. Yeah, definitely meant to say overboard.

Posted by Blogger Renee in Ohio @ Sunday, July 31, 2005 2:16:00 PM #

Heh. good writing, Oscar.

Posted by Blogger Terri @ Saturday, August 06, 2005 11:14:00 PM #
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