DAY 24 OF 365 IN 2021
Jonah 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
We read Jonah’s mission to Niniveh in which he announce imminent trouble if they did not turn from their ways. This text is the basis of our reflection today.
Whenever we hear any kind of message from any source, there is a requirement that has to be fulfilled: we have to decide whether to believe the person bringing the message or the message itself. That is not unusual. Thus, ‘I believe you’ or ‘I believe this’ after any a message sounds about accurate.
However, there is another level of belief which we see in the life of the Ninevites. Clearly they had already been through the initial levels and believed Jonah and the words he had spoken. However, scripture puts their belief in a very unique way. It was Jonah who spoke to them but scripture presents “the people of Niniveh believed God”.
It was as if these Ninevites had caught a revelation way before Jesus even preached it for there was a time when He said ‘whoever receives me, receives the one who sent me’. Therefore, even though Jonah and his message were honoured, their eyes looked beyond both of these to see the God who was present.
Beloved, their actions teach us about different layers of honour: ‘honouring the man, and the message, but not forgetting to honour the sender.’ For too many of us, the physical presence of men and women who are the ‘hands, feet and voice of God,’ his messengers; has led to such familiarity with the visible that the invisible God appears to have lost His place.
We ought to bear in mind that it is not only the words or the man that matter, it is the substance and spirit thereof. And this is drawn from the person under whose authority both the man and the words come.
So look beyond any individual and beyond any words, for if you look hard enough, you should see God beyond.
That, should even give your belief a stronger backbone.