Day 44: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 44: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6).

Jonah the prophet, experienced an emotional melt-down.  He was a godly man, who was overwhelmed by near-death experiences.  He was unable to obtain equilibrium in his psychological well-being.  His theology remained solid, he knew scriptural data, but something had trumped that in his life. It seems, the trauma of nearly drowning, then being gobbled by a huge fish, carting him around for 3 days, had a profound effect upon his contentment.  He was not happy, he was angry!

He complained to the Lord, he does not self-reflect.  In his anger he blames his angst on – wait for it: the Lord.  And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. (Jonah 4:2).  God’s the problem because he is good!?  Ummm, I would not use this approach in your prayers.

This was a confused, and distorted reaction by Jonah.  His theology was correct. What was Jonah’s response to the Lord’s glorious attributes?

Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jon. 4:3).  Huh?  This was not a logical conclusion to his reasoning.  He wanted to die because God is good!?  Something happened to him, that has distorted his ability to come to a place of joy and fulfillment.  After all, the entire city of Nineveh had come to faith, by the goodness of the Lord (3:6-10).  Why didn’t Jonah get joy from this?

Well, Isaiah 9:6 lists the magnificent attributes of the Lord.  The first characteristic is the Lord is a Wonderful Counselor.  Might is second, eternal third, peaceful fourth.  If you wanted one person in all of creation to sit and counsel Jonah, the choice is the Lord.  God does not get the most astute angel in Heaven to minister to Jonah.  Nor does the Lord find the most talented, gifted person on planet earth to come and help Jonah. The Lord shows up!  God will do the same for you – He’s always available for any of us.

And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?” (4:4).  This was not a head-slap, but it is just as stunning.  Jonah was so flummoxed by the Lord’s question he turned and walked away (4:5). The Lord knows what Jonah’s experiencing, pointing out that it was Jonah’s choice to be angry. In other words, God notes that mankind has a responsibility for their attitudes.  If our attitudes are not healthy, the Lord points to it.  Get used to it.

Who should be angry in this entire scenario?  Wouldn’t the Lord be steamed that Jonah, rebelled, and disobeyed his command?  The Lord had to send a storm and a fish to persuade one stubborn man, to preach a five-second sermon?  If I was the Lord, Jonah wouldn’t be receiving my kindness.  A Marine Corps brig would be his destination.

Unlike me, the Lord is kind: Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. (4:6).  The Lord sends goodness into his life.

Next the Lord implements a challenge: God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. (4:7).  So, everything doesn’t remain sweetness, with harp music?  Well surely the ‘Wonderful Counselor,’ will send cloud cover to protect Jonah. God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. (4:8).  My, my the ‘Wonderful Counselor’ amps up the discomfort meter, making eye-popping distress.  He’s not afraid to use pressure.  You’ll give up before him.

Now Jonah ends his silence: And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” (4:8). The silent treatment doesn’t work with the ‘Wonderful Counselor.’  Read Psalm 32:3, 4.  David tried the same strategy – it didn’t work for him either.

But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” (4:9).  Jonah didn’t answer the question at first.  He walked away.  The Lord now reduces the perspective so Jonah, can identify his own problem.  God’s probing will not stop until we adjust our choices, in our own attitudes.  Anger isn’t Jonah’s problem, it is the evidence that there is a problem.  The Lord is drilling down, letting Jonah see his inner-self.  A person can change behavior, without changing their attitude.  The Lord was in Jonah’s inner sanctum.

Surely Jonah will see the light. And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” (4:9).  Whoa, sounds like pride is at Jonah’s core.  His anger comes from his pride.  He isn’t getting what he wants, and he’s puckered, willing to die if he doesn’t get his way.

The ‘Wonderful Counselor’, now puts his finger on Jonah’s problem of pride.  Pride prohibited Jonah to have pity for people.  The Lord notes that Jonah was able to have ‘pity’ for the plant that withered: the LORD said, “You pity the plant, (4:10).  ‘Pity’ means to have compassion.  Jonah’s trauma forced him to harden his heart.  Care had leached out of his character, replaced by anger.  Compassion, like anger is a choice, and Jonah chose anger. He still had a measure of pity.  It was in his character, it now needed to be enhanced.

So, the ‘Wonderful Counselor’ gave Jonah an example.  Nineveh was evil (1:2), not worthy of the compassion of God, yet he let his compassion rule his decision to give them pity.  Pride did not rule the Lord’s choice, rather pity was the moving force allowing the Lord to give grace to Nineveh – and to Jonah – and to you.  God is good, targeting us with his compassion.  His compassion should be impacting us, then changing us.

The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Ps. 103:8).  We are called to be like this!

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:19, 20).

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28).

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being willing to enter into my heart, identifying those issues that need to be addressed.  It must be like entering a sewer, when my innermost thoughts are disgusting and detestable.  I’m shocked that you, the most glorious, loving, individual in the Universe is willing to walk into the dark places of my heart, to do an inspection, and help me with my depravity.  I am sorry that you will patrol the areas of my heart that are not controlled by purity.  My selfishness and pride are not hidden from you. Yet out of compassion you are willing to slough through the muck of my heart, willing to help me target purity.

‘Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51:12). Lord thank you for being willing to give me grace that I could never earn. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (51:10).  Thank you that are willing to renew me, with a clean, pure, faultless heart, in exchange for my corrupted old heart. You love me enough, to not let me languish in decadent habits. You’re willing to make something new within me, freeing me from immoral behaviors.  How can a holy God, invade my inner-self, then renew me, without being tainted?  You are gloriously good! Thank you for being so thoughtful and careful with me.  Then Lord, make me like you.

I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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