Confused People... According to God

15 December 2012

“And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:11)

PDF image

201212 Confused People

Uploaded: Jan. 22 2013

>>Download

I still remember some of my first lessons as a child- the time I learned to tie my shoelaces- the time I was introduced to the ABC’s. I also remember the time I was taught the difference between my left and my right hand. Those are lessons for children. Grown people, with most of their faculties, should have these things under control.

But we read of a people, grown people, in the day of Jonah, that didn’t. No, they didn’t know the difference between their right hand and their left hand -120,000 adults to be exact!

If God has ever called a nation confused, that was the time because that is precisely what He was saying to Jonah concerning Nineveh: “Those people are so confused they can’t tell the difference between their right hand and their left.”

So we must ask, “Why is it so important to God for people to know the difference between their right hand and their left hand?” Well, I remember the story of a woman driver (not my personal opinion of women drivers) who was visiting from another country. She approached a traffic light with a sign under it which read: “No Right Turn.” But she read it like this: “NO! Right Turn!” After receiving her citation she told the officer that she was going to turn left but the sign told her to turn right-and she did. So, why was he giving her a ticket?

Knowing our right hand from our left hand gives direction- knowing how to get from point A to point B. For example: the men’s bathroom is on the right! We use this simple childhood lesson most every day of our adult life.

But God wasn’t concerned about Nineveh knowing where the men’s bathroom was located. His metaphor had deep, spiritual implications. It had to do with a people who were confused about what was right and what was wrong-the difference between righteousness and unrighteousness-between good and evil-between sin and holiness. 120,000 people didn’t know what was right and what was wrong in Nineveh. That is pretty bad. No direction. And because evil was running rampant God was about to put them out of their misery. You might say, clean the place up, do a little tidying in His creation. After all, it does belong to Him.

But God is very merciful. Before He does anything like this, He always sends a messenger to wake people up and remind them of some things- you know, the difference between right and wrong. This was Jonah’s job.

Now Jonah didn’t like these people in the first place. He was perfectly happy for the Lord to burn those sinners up. Sounds like a lot of people these days…on both sides of the fence. But after his little whale experience he was ready to do a little preaching. So he enters into the city with this message directly from the mouth of God: “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”(Jonah 3:4). That was intended to scare the pants off of those confused people in Nineveh. And it did.

The city listened to God’s messenger, prayed, repented, fasted, and was spared.

I have always wondered about Nineveh. How do people become so ignorant concerning the difference between right and wrong? The Bible doesn’t tell us. But I know how it could have happened. Allow me to speculate.

They probably quit going to church, or they were hit and miss. You know, like we see of many people in our country today. They probably quit reading their Bibles. You know, like in our country today. They probably quit praying as they should pray. You know, like we see in our country today. They probably looked at the messengers that God sent them, prior to Jonah, as old Joe preacher that was a little too spiritual. You know, like many people in our country today. They probably didn’t pay much attention to the things preached. You know, like many people in our country today. They probably got so involved in their prosperity, their toys, and their hobbies that they forgot all about the God that had blessed them. You know, like many people in our country today. They probably thought that the great city of Nineveh would be there forever, that no judgment would ever come their way. You know, like many people in our country today. In short, complacency had set in.

When it came time to vote for the mayor of Nineveh, they probably thought they should not mix politics with religion, so they voted for men that diametrically opposed the principals they had been taught in their church by Joe preacher. They listened to the in crowd, Mr. Worldly Wise-man, and the simple minded politician. You know, like many people in our country today. So, they put men in power that promised them everything they wanted but diametrically opposed the things that Joe preacher had taught them. Like we see of many in our country today.

The mayor finally locked up the Joe preachers so they would quit bothering the people. You know, like they are planning to do in our country today.

So, there was no one to stand up for right, and remind the people of the God that had been so good to them.

Therefore, they forgot the difference between their right hand and their left hand…spiritually speaking that is. But there was still a God that was kind enough to send them one more Joe preacher by the name of Jonah. Thus, they were spared for a little season. At least, that’s the ways I see it.

As we were riding back to the airport from the recent preacher’s meeting Elder Dickie Halbgewachs expressed my own heart as we approached the big Atlanta airport. It was the day after the presidential election- the day in which about 50% of the American people placed other things above right and wrong-good and evil-righteousness and unrighteousness. It was the day that about 50% of the American people listened to the in crowd, Mr. Worldly Wise-man, and the simpleminded politician rather than the Joe preachers. He looked at the big buildings and said, “I’ve looked at the remains of ancient civilizations and wondered what was there before they were destroyed. I wonder what they will think this place was?”

Yes, the election was a sad blow to our country. There was a solemn prayer offered at the preachers meeting for our nation. Especially in the light that free people had the opportunity to vote for their leader. A Herod or a Caesar is not forced upon them. Not yet, anyway.

But where is Nineveh, that great city, today? As Solomon has wisely said, “There is no new thing under the sun.” Nations come and go. Yet, will they learn wisdom? –NMP

Comments

Submit your Comment