God is a Spirit and when we speak of his kingdom it is understood that nothing shall be hidden either in heaven or on the earth so when He judges his judgment is perfect. “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.(Matt.7:23,22) “Jesus is referring to those who did great things,- and as servants of God they must have been televangelists, ministers whose audience swelling in numbers every Sunday made impression on others, and their churches as grand as they come. Only that they did not do the will of the Lord. His Power and Wisdom are attributes of his Name so man’s paths are laid bare before him. They did not do service with hearts fully right in His sight.
What was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira? In the Acts of the Apostles we have an account that ought to make every believer sit up and notice. We have to account for ourselves before Him one day. God did not let go His standards in the history of the Early Church Age; nor will he in our times. How electrified believers would have been by all that they saw and heard with the outpouring of the Spirit? Because of great opposition from the world the small church had agreed to communal living to which every believer who had the means contributed. Ananias and his wife Sapphira also did their bit for the cause. Even while they professed Christ their heart was not right before God. They were not fooling the Apostle but God whose Holiness could not be trifled with hypocrisy. Hear what St Peter says, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God (Ac.5:3-5).” This being the case one may wonder how is that all those preachers who do not care of robbing the widows and weak believers in order to fund their ostentatious life style are not struck down by God?
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God(He.10:31).” God is merciful and shall strike down evil in His time and those having trodden underfoot the blood of Jesus as trivial one may be sure that their hearts are dead to any wise counsel of the Spirit. On one level what we see are ministers who handle the word, and superficially they are well received as worthy of emulation and respect. But deep within their hearts the Spirit sees what is true. So when activism of Moral majority gives voice his judgmental self-righteous indignation is no better than of a Pharisee. When Jesus Christ decided the case of the woman taken in adultery he made the teachers of law realize they were in no way better than her. Their conscience pricked and left one by one. When we hear of the Evangelicals condemning against LGBTQ they are not even as ashamed as the Pharisees were.
In the case of Jonah who did not want to forewarn Nineveh there lurked a motive that he himself had no inkling of. If he had his way he would have consigned them to flames. But blissfully he was unaware. It is how many fool themselves. Their spirit is willing but flesh is weak. It is how our hearts can trip us up. “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes(Song 2:15).” These little foxes have evaded attention but for how long? We read of the Husbandman who had sought for fruits as in the Parable of the Barren Fig tree. “So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'(Lk.13:7)”
It is thus our hearts let us down. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?/ I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Je.17:9-10)”. God was merciful to make Jonah understand the state of his heart which needed more compassion. Our Savior Lord has perfected us with one sacrifice. But in order to bear fruits we are to abide in him. There is a reason. A believer is abiding in order to be conformed in his image, obedience, charity or love and fruits of the Spirit are not produced overnight. He must be like a refiner purifying all that dross that comes to surface. It is for this reason he must read the word of God diligently and correct wherever is unseemly and that is how we shall put on the mind of Christ.
“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (He.4:13)”. Study of the word is also to increase our faith according to the revealed word. Unless we gather with him or acquiring the virtues of Christian Living in our lives we are scattering instead. So help me O God.
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
3 Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
4 Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry?
5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.
6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.
8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
11 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?