Obedience From a Soft Heart

  • June 08, 2021
Tuesday 08

Jonah 4

What most people know about Jonah is that he was swallowed by a big fish while trying to run from God. But the portion of the story that’s often overlooked is what happened after the prophet obeyed. He eventually went to Nineveh to warn the people of divine wrath, and they responded by turning away from wickedness. Their response should have made Jonah ecstatic, but because Nineveh and Israel were enemies, he became angry over their repentance and God’s mercy on them.

Being trapped inside a fish may have convinced Jonah to obey God’s command, but his heart had not changed. He still desired the Ninevites’ destruction, and his bitterness and reluctance showed through in spite of his righteous actions.

God is not fooled by good behavior that springs from a hard heart. Obeying Him with an unwilling spirit may achieve His purpose, but we lose the joy of our reward. Perhaps the Lord has called you to serve Him in a way that is personally challenging. As you commit to following His will, pray also for a soft heart. You will find peace and blessing in doing the work when you follow Him with a humble spirit.

Bible in One Year: Job 31-34

Other Daily Content

Audio New
Mighty Angel, Little Book

Dr. Stanley talks about how the little book given to John by the angel is believed to be the title deed to the entire earth.

1 But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.

2 He prayed to the LORD and said, Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.

3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."

4 The LORD said, Do you have good reason to be angry?"

5 Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.

6 So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.

7 But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered.

8 When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, Death is better to me than life."

9 Then God said to Jonah, Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?" And he said, I have good reason to be angry, even to death."

10 Then the LORD said, You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.

11 Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

1 I have made a covenant with my eyes; How then could I gaze at a virgin?

2 And what is the portion of God from above Or the heritage of the Almighty from on high?

3 Is it not calamity to the unjust And disaster to those who work iniquity?

4 Does He not see my ways And number all my steps?

5 If I have walked with falsehood, And my foot has hastened after deceit,

6 Let Him weigh me with accurate scales, And let God know my integrity.

7 If my step has turned from the way, Or my heart followed my eyes, Or if any spot has stuck to my hands,

8 Let me sow and another eat, And let my crops be uprooted.

9 If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or I have lurked at my neighbor's doorway,

10 May my wife grind for another, And let others kneel down over her.

11 For that would be a lustful crime; Moreover, it would be an iniquity punishable by judges.

12 For it would be fire that consumes to Abaddon, And would uproot all my increase.

13 If I have despised the claim of my male or female slaves When they filed a complaint against me,

14 What then could I do when God arises? And when He calls me to account, what will I answer Him?

15 Did not He who made me in the womb make him, And the same one fashion us in the womb?

16 If I have kept the poor from their desire, Or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail,

17 Or have eaten my morsel alone, And the orphan has not shared it

18 (But from my youth he grew up with me as with a father, And from infancy I guided her),

19 If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, Or that the needy had no covering,

20 If his loins have not thanked me, And if he has not been warmed with the fleece of my sheep,

21 If I have lifted up my hand against the orphan, Because I saw I had support in the gate,

22 Let my shoulder fall from the socket, And my arm be broken off at the elbow.

23 For calamity from God is a terror to me, And because of His majesty I can do nothing.

24 If I have put my confidence in gold, And called fine gold my trust,

25 If I have gloated because my wealth was great, And because my hand had secured so much;

26 If I have looked at the sun when it shone Or the moon going in splendor,

27 And my heart became secretly enticed, And my hand threw a kiss from my mouth,

28 That too would have been an iniquity calling for judgment, For I would have denied God above.

29 Have I rejoiced at the extinction of my enemy, Or exulted when evil befell him?

30 No, I have not allowed my mouth to sin By asking for his life in a curse.

31 Have the men of my tent not said, `Who can find one who has not been satisfied with his meat'?

32 The alien has not lodged outside, For I have opened my doors to the traveler.

33 Have I covered my transgressions like Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,

34 Because I feared the great multitude, And the contempt of families terrified me, And kept silent and did not go out of doors?

35 Oh that I had one to hear me! Behold, here is my signature; Let the Almighty answer me! And the indictment which my adversary has written,

36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, I would bind it to myself like a crown.

37 I would declare to Him the number of my steps; Like a prince I would approach Him.

38 If my land cries out against me, And its furrows weep together;

39 If I have eaten its fruit without money, Or have caused its owners to lose their lives,

40 Let briars grow instead of wheat, And stinkweed instead of barley." The words of Job are ended.

1 Then these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.

2 But the anger of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram burned; against Job his anger burned because he justified himself before God.

3 And his anger burned against his three friends because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.

4 Now Elihu had waited to speak to Job because they were years older than he.

5 And when Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of the three men his anger burned.

6 So Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite spoke out and said, I am young in years and you are old; Therefore I was shy and afraid to tell you what I think.

7 I thought age should speak, And increased years should teach wisdom.

8 But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.

9 The abundant in years may not be wise, Nor may elders understand justice.

10 So I say, `Listen to me, I too will tell what I think.'

11 Behold, I waited for your words, I listened to your reasonings, While you pondered what to say.

12 I even paid close attention to you; Indeed, there was no one who refuted Job, Not one of you who answered his words.

13 Do not say, `We have found wisdom; God will rout him, not man.'

14 For he has not arranged his words against me, Nor will I reply to him with your arguments.

15 They are dismayed, they no longer answer; Words have failed them.

16 Shall I wait, because they do not speak, Because they stop and no longer answer?

17 I too will answer my share, I also will tell my opinion.

18 For I am full of words; The spirit within me constrains me.

19 Behold, my belly is like unvented wine, Like new wineskins it is about to burst.

20 Let me speak that I may get relief; Let me open my lips and answer.

21 Let me now be partial to no one, Nor flatter any man.

22 For I do not know how to flatter, Else my Maker would soon take me away.

1 However now, Job, please hear my speech, And listen to all my words.

2 Behold now, I open my mouth, My tongue in my mouth speaks.

3 My words are from the uprightness of my heart, And my lips speak knowledge sincerely.

4 The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

5 Refute me if you can; Array yourselves before me, take your stand.

6 Behold, I belong to God like you; I too have been formed out of the clay.

7 Behold, no fear of me should terrify you, Nor should my pressure weigh heavily on you.

8 Surely you have spoken in my hearing, And I have heard the sound of your words:

9 I am pure, without transgression; I am innocent and there is no guilt in me.

10 Behold, He invents pretexts against me; He counts me as His enemy.

11 He puts my feet in the stocks; He watches all my paths.'

12 Behold, let me tell you, you are not right in this, For God is greater than man.

13 Why do you complain against Him That He does not give an account of all His doings?

14 Indeed God speaks once, Or twice, yet no one notices it.

15 In a dream, a vision of the night, When sound sleep falls on men, While they slumber in their beds,

16 Then He opens the ears of men, And seals their instruction,

17 That He may turn man aside from his conduct, And keep man from pride;

18 He keeps back his soul from the pit, And his life from passing over into Sheol.

19 Man is also chastened with pain on his bed, And with unceasing complaint in his bones;

20 So that his life loathes bread, And his soul favorite food.

21 His flesh wastes away from sight, And his bones which were not seen stick out.

22 Then his soul draws near to the pit, And his life to those who bring death.

23 If there is an angel as mediator for him, One out of a thousand, To remind a man what is right for him,

24 Then let him be gracious to him, and say, `Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom';

25 Let his flesh become fresher than in youth, Let him return to the days of his youthful vigor;

26 Then he will pray to God, and He will accept him, That he may see His face with joy, And He may restore His righteousness to man.

27 He will sing to men and say, `I have sinned and perverted what is right, And it is not proper for me.

28 He has redeemed my soul from going to the pit, And my life shall see the light.'

29 Behold, God does all these oftentimes with men,

30 To bring back his soul from the pit, That he may be enlightened with the light of life.

31 Pay attention, O Job, listen to me; Keep silent, and let me speak.

32 Then if you have anything to say, answer me; Speak, for I desire to justify you.

33 If not, listen to me; Keep silent, and I will teach you wisdom."

1 Then Elihu continued and said,

2 Hear my words, you wise men, And listen to me, you who know.

3 For the ear tests words As the palate tastes food.

4 Let us choose for ourselves what is right; Let us know among ourselves what is good.

5 For Job has said, `I am righteous, But God has taken away my right;

6 Should I lie concerning my right? My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.'

7 What man is like Job, Who drinks up derision like water,

8 Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity, And walks with wicked men?

9 For he has said, `It profits a man nothing When he is pleased with God.'

10 Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far be it from God to do wickedness, And from the Almighty to do wrong.

11 For He pays a man according to his work, And makes him find it according to his way.

12 Surely, God will not act wickedly, And the Almighty will not pervert justice.

13 Who gave Him authority over the earth? And who has laid on Him the whole world?

14 If He should determine to do so, If He should gather to Himself His spirit and His breath,

15 All flesh would perish together, And man would return to dust.

16 But if you have understanding, hear this; Listen to the sound of my words.

17 Shall one who hates justice rule? And will you condemn the righteous mighty One,

18 Who says to a king, `Worthless one,' To nobles, `Wicked ones';

19 Who shows no partiality to princes Nor regards the rich above the poor, For they all are the work of His hands?

20 In a moment they die, and at midnight People are shaken and pass away, And the mighty are taken away without a hand.

21 For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, And He sees all his steps.

22 There is no darkness or deep shadow Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

23 For He does not need to consider a man further, That he should go before God in judgment.

24 He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry, And sets others in their place.

25 Therefore He knows their works, And He overthrows them in the night, And they are crushed.

26 He strikes them like the wicked In a public place,

27 Because they turned aside from following Him, And had no regard for any of His ways;

28 So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him, And that He might hear the cry of the afflicted--

29 When He keeps quiet, who then can condemn? And when He hides His face, who then can behold Him, That is, in regard to both nation and man?--

30 So that godless men would not rule Nor be snares of the people.

31 For has anyone said to God, `I have borne chastisement; I will not offend anymore;

32 Teach me what I do not see; If I have done iniquity, I will not do it again'?

33 Shall He recompense on your terms, because you have rejected it? For you must choose, and not I; Therefore declare what you know.

34 Men of understanding will say to me, And a wise man who hears me,

35 Job speaks without knowledge, And his words are without wisdom.

36 Job ought to be tried to the limit, Because he answers like wicked men.

37 For he adds rebellion to his sin; He claps his hands among us, And multiplies his words against God.'"

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Publish Date June 23, 2021
Obedience Changes Everything

Jesus can change our life for the better, but that requires us to step out in obedience.

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