I recently inquired of the Lord, “Now that TOOLS for a LIFETIME has ended for this semester, why am I still stuck in Jonah?”
Jonah was our study material for learning how to study the Bible. I thought that once this semester was over, I would move on to another study topic. But, I can’t. For some reason, I feel something is left unfinished. Undone. Unlearned. Did I miss the call? Did I go the wrong direction? Did I miss what God was asking me to do? Did I miss what he was teaching me?
One of my bad habits, okay, let’s not call it a bad habit, let’s just call it what it is…. a lack of organization. My study notes are everywhere! A notebook here, observation sheets here and there, and post-it notes and FB posts everywhere else. Nothing is in the same place. So, I decided to get it all organized and in doing so, maybe I could find out why I’m stuck and get on to something else.
I bought a notebook, notebook paper, and tabs for each chapter and topic. As I organize my notes, I am also going back through the Book of Jonah using one of the most remarkable tools available to us, the cross-reference tool in most Bibles. As I started listing and then looking up each of the cross-references from several different Bibles, a new world of wonder was opening before my eyes. Then, God whispered in my heart this amazing thing:
“It doesn’t matter where you are, I will take you where you need to go.”
So, I don’t see myself stuck in Jonah anymore. I am planted here. Jonah is my “home base” and as I venture into the world of cross-reference, God is guiding me through the adventure of a LIFETIME. Seeds of things are being planted in my heart and in my mind. I no longer worry about what God is showing me, where it’s supposed to go or why. I just treasure everything I see, knowing it will all come together in His timing. How do I know this? I know by what He has shown me so far…. In Jonah 1:2. Yes, I am back to square one, but oh, what an amazing new thing! I have been “planted” in Jonah for over a year now. I don’t actually stay in Jonah all of time, because God sends me on wonderful adventures.
As I pondered on Jonah 1:2 and the part of the Scripture that says “for their wickedness has come up before me”, the Holy Spirit brought to my mind the verse “for their sin has not yet reached full measure”. (The Holy Spirit is the best cross-reference!)
The verse is Genesis 15:16 where God is telling Abraham that He will give his decendants the land He is showing him, but not until the fourth generation because the sin of the Amorites had not yet reached full measure (complete in the NASB). Without going into detail on the depth of this Scripture and the remarkable timing God gave Nineveh (Jonah Chapter 3), I will say that God’s timing is perfect. He is not going to do things too early and He knows when the time is ripe for harvest. He knows when hearts are ready and He knows when hearts have gone stone cold.
God is so amazing, so wonderful and so patient! He waited 450 years for the Amorites to reach “full measure”. I believe He did this because there were people along the way that would turn to Him. He knew when the time was right for Nineveh to turn from their wicked ways.
He knows when I am ready to learn and most importantly, He knows when I am ready to act and turn in His direction. I will trust Him and stay where I am until He tells me to go. He knows this for you as well. So, get planted in the Word. Where? It doesn’t matter where. Just get planted and let God take you on the most amazing adventure of a LIFETIME.
“Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
JONAH 1:2 (NIV)
In the fourth generation, your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
GENESIS 15:16 (NIV)