If we read the story of Jonah and the whale, we will see that God only used the prophet one time because of his unforgiving, self-righteous attitude. Because Jonah disliked the people of Ninevah so much personally, he refused to prophesy God's warning to them and fled from God's presence, or should I say, he tried to evade God. Jonah had the same attitude of what was later to be known as a Pharisee in the New Testament. He, like the Pharisees, said he loved God, but his initial willful disobedience, and his anger because God wanted to show mercy to Ninevah, shows us he was religious not righteous, nationalistic rather than seeing God loves all people and thought of himself and Israel as exclusive rather than separate. There are lessons to be learned through Jonah's story.
LET US LOOK AT THE RELIGIOUS
Have you ever noticed religious people see themselves as holier than the people of the world? Rather than acknowledging the blood of Christ as their salvation, they tend to look at their own actions. To see ourselves as righteous for any reason other than the gift of repentance that God has made available to all of us, and His forgiveness of sin through the cross, is absolutely "self-righteousness". All fall short of the glory of God. We are the descendants of Adam and all we know is the knowledge of the tree of good and evil. The Word says so.
Genesis 3:6shows us the actions of our race's parents.
6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
We are righteous, or in right standing with God, for one reason, because of Christ. Period! So it is important that we who know Yeshua help others to know Him also. Side Note: Many people see God as the Creator and Father, but fewer know Him as the Son, our Messiah, or as the Holy Spirit. Isaiah spoke about Him in Isaiah 9:6.
6 For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be calledWonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
He is God! We find proof and fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy in II Corinthians 5:18-19.
II Corinthians 5:18-19
18 Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation,
19 that is, that God was in Christ(in the body suit of Jesus)reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. (So Jesus and the Father are one.)
Acts 20:28 also shows us,
28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (So Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one.)
The Lord our God is one God. Father of creation, Son for our Salvation and the Holy Spirit in us today, but one God.
ARE WE NATIONALISTIC?
God created the whole earth as man's home and gave him dominion over it and all life on it.
26 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.
He did not intend Cities, Countries, States or Counties. God is not American, African or German any more than He is Baptist, Methodist or Catholic. Since we are God's children, His family, we should not be defensive or prideful because of these things. They were formed by minds guided by knowledge from Satan to divide God's people! I'm not proud to be an American, I'm thankful to be God's family. I pledge allegiance to my God!
EXCLUSIVE OR JUST SEPARATE?
God did not tell us to separate from those that are not Godly with the intention of making us exclusive. We are to simply be set aside from sin and iniquity for our own protection.
II Corinthians 6:13-14
13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), youalso be open.
14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
If we travel with lawless people, or people that do not care about what God thinks, we will end up breaking God's laws also. That's not their fault, if they are not born again, it's ours! They don't know any better and don't hear from God. In our spirit we know when we are wrong. The unbeliever does not hear, as their spirit man is dead. The lawless that are born again however know better, but just don't care. Neither are good for us to associate with!
II Corinthians 6:17-18
17 Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." If we are obedient to this commandment, look at the promises God gives us!
18 " I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty."
His family is instructed to be separate, but at the same time we are to preach the gospel to the worldly ones. We are to minister to them in hope of these coming into the family and perhaps becoming citizens of God's Kingdom. Being set aside, and told to stay away from socializing with people that are worldly, or even keeping company with ones within God's family that do not walk faithfully, is very much a commandment of God. Why? Because again, it can cause you to become like them. It will trap you, put you in bondage, and defeat you. For instance, look at the instruction given in I Corinthians 5:9-13 concerning associating with immoral people, drunks, or those that make the things of this world idols and refuse to give them up.
I Corinthians 5:9-13
9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.
10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner - not even to eat with such a person.
12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore "put away from yourselves the evil person."
We are to rid ourselves of the above. Why? We are warned through Apostle Paul at I Corinthians 15:33-34.
I Corinthians 15:33-34
33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God(they have the knowledge of Satan). I speak this to your shame.
We should enlighten or inform those that do not know how God feels about these things. If we don't, for whatever reason, it is our shame. But if a member of our family, who absolutely knows better, continues to walk in these things, the Bible says, if something is rotten, "cut it off" or else the whole body will become rotten in time.
30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Notice where it says the lawless end up.)
God is very pleased when His people hear and obey His requirements and those that do listen to Him are special jewels, a treasure to Him.
I Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
But again, we are not special just because we are separated by God to be His family. We become special only because we are obedient to stay separate and quick to repent and change. We are then in a position for the blood of Christ to cover our mistakes, making us righteous. But hear this! The blood covering is not in effect when we are connected to a world our Father is no part of.
So, in closing, when we leave God's household, we are in danger of being scalped by the enemy! Exclusive, no! Protected, yes! We must heed the warning given in Revelation 18:4.
4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.
In other words, do not be caught up in the world and her religions. Be a very close-knit member of God's Kingdom for protection. Do not become tunnel-visioned, loyal or nationalistic towards any one location. See the whole world as belonging to God and in need of being refurbished or restored by His people. Be set apart to the household of God. Be loyal, loving, set a good example as a valuable member of His family. At the same time however, be ready to extend an invitation to any that wish to be a part of the Kingdom. Don't be religious, nationalistic, or see yourself as exclusive. Don't be a Jonah!