Saturday, September 3, 2011

Mourning Cows?

So, I'm reading through the book of Jonah and it's so familiar. So familiar that it can be dangerous. And I mean... I get lazy. I get too familiar and stop being open to how God can use scripture in my life - even well known passages and stories. Seriously, who doesn't know the story of Jonah and the big fish/whale/whatev. I've heard it twice a year since I was 5 or something.

But today I was STRUCK with something new. Mourning Cows.
Yep, you read that correctly. Cows in mourning.

"...Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands." Jonah 3:7b-8

I'm struck by a few things from this passage in general.
1) The people were so full of remorse and sickness over their sin that they even covered their animals in sackcloth. It was their custom {Persians} to include their animals in mourning ceremonies (source: MacArthur). They took their sin seriously.

2) That God relented. Verse 10 says, "Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented."

What would our country look like if we took sin that seriously? Interesting. This huge massive city of Ninevah - guilty of idolatry and endless other big time offenses {but aren't they all big?!} took Jonah's word seriously and were spared. Can you imagine? If you know the Lord, you understand a taste of that... but, really, can you imagine modern day today having someone tell you your city was toast in 40 days if you don't change everything you do? If the city of Des Moines was told to stop their sin and evil and repent... I think people here would laugh. No, I know they would. Just something to think about.

I'm convicted this morning AGAIN of taking sin seriously. Mourning over it. Being heartsick and barely able to function unless I'm right with God. How often does it become the norm in my life to hold grudges, disrespect my spouse, treat my children in a rough manner and then expect them to be gentle? I'm reminded of how BIG God is - so Big and in charge. And how patient, loving and forgiving He is. There is NO SIN TOO BIG. I'm reminded how I can come to Him at all times and pour out my heart. When He looks at me He sees His Son, Jesus. Ah, Amen!

Mourning cows. Funny to think about today...
But, maybe we need to get back to that? And maybe we need to quit letting sin slide.

"So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm."
Joel 2:13

"Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us."
Psalm 62:8

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord WILL NOT HEAR."
Psalm 67:18

"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin."
1 John 1:7

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