Today I am excited to welcome Kathy and Larry Miller as they share about their book, God’s Intriguing Questions.
Most people know about the story of Jonah and the whale. Most might even realize Jonah was disobeying God. But many don’t focus on God’s question to Jonah. God asks him, “Do you do well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4).
But we all should because God’s inquiry into Jonah’s motivation for his anger is a powerful demonstration of God’s persistent care. God asks his question after Jonah persistently whines about his circumstances. Jonah thinks God has done him wrong. He’s already been swallowed by the whale, coughed up onto land, preached to the Ninevites, and seen them turn to God. Instead of rejoicing at God’s success through him, he complains fueling his anger and depression.
Jonah felt justified to be contemptuous about God’s nature, explaining, “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” (4:2). Then Jonah asks to die, and God enquires into Jonah’s heart, “Do you do well to be angry?”
God is asking, “And is your anger good for you, Jonah? Why are you angry when I’m good to you and others?”
Jonah is motivated by hatred and fear.
Jonah hates the Ninevites because they are not Israelites. Jonah is prejudiced. God pursues a prejudiced missionary. How’s that for persistence?
Jonah is fearful (Jonah 4:2) because if he goes to the Ninevites predicting disaster, and if they repent and God relents from his plan of destruction (because he’s good), Jonah could be stoned as a false prophet according to God’s Law. A true prophet could never predict something God doesn’t cause to happen.
Yet, God in his persistent love wants to do a sanctifying work in the Ninevites and in Jonah. The huge population of Nineveh needs saving, and Jonah needs a compassionate heart—both of God’s motives are good for the good of his created beings. Jonah’s story is one of assurance God will seek and pursue us, no matter how determined we seem.
Interestingly, we don’t know for sure whether Jonah cooperated with God’s plan. By the end of the book, Jonah is still in a temper tantrum. He still wants to die. But since Jonah writes about his own wicked heart, seemingly Jonah has humbly repented and responded to God’s heart work. He’s no longer running from truth and God’s goodness.
If you wonder whether you’ve said or done something wrong too many times, let Jonah’s story and God’s question assure you God persistently cares. You can never run too far away—even as far away as Tarshish.
What does it mean to you when God persistently pursues both those who are repentant and those who aren’t?
Kathy Collard Miller and her husband, Larry Miller, have written a devotional book about the questions God asks in the Bible. They have focused on 40 of God’s questions in this book, God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature.
These devotions make biblical stories come alive and provide both inspirational and practical ideas, along with biblical depth. Two discussion questions are included with each devotion, along with a short prayer. This book is perfect for both individuals and couples.
About the authors
The Millers have been in ministry since 1978 as speakers, authors, and lay counselors. They married in 1970. Larry is a retired police lieutenant from Huntington Beach, CA, Police Department. Both individually and as a couple, they have authored over 57 books and spoken in nine foreign countries. They live in Southern California and are parents and grandparents.
Visit them at www.KathyCollardMiller.com
Twitter: @KathyCMiller and @LarryMiller
FIRST PAGE OF BOOK:
Where are you?
God’s first question comes in the midst of a unique kind of fear motivated hide-and-seek game in the Garden of Eden occurring quickly after Adam and Eve sin. The “two-and-onlys” (not “one and only”) are hiding. God knows where they are. God knows why they are there. And indeed, he has seen the whole temptation-and-tree caper as it unfolded and isn’t one bit surprised or disgusted.
Yet, God calls out, “Where are you?”
When you and I play hide-and-seek, we don’t know where the other people are. The goal is to find them and win.
God doesn’t need to win. He doesn’t need to look for them. But he knows they need to be found, feel found, and found out. Their very souls depend upon his seeking and their response.
These two “first timers” must think God’s sight is limited even as the temptation starts. “God doesn’t see us. He will never find us. We are safe.” They hide because they believe God’s personal connection with them has been destroyed, and he wants to destroy them.
God calls out and asks the first question in history even though he knows the answer. Why? A friend of mine wonders if the question isn’t so much about their physical location but the location of their heart and mind.
What does God want to hear from the pair? It seems pretty obvious God longs for his two creations to ‘fess up. He knows it is best for them to acknowledge their rebellion and then repent and return to fellowship with their Creator Father.
When Adam and Eve hear the sounds of God’s words, they explain their reaction, as if he doesn’t already know. “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself” (vs. 10). Naked and afraid. What horrible feelings.