I want to talk to you today about something we have all said in our lives, and that is, “it’s not fair”. We learned as small children to say that, “it’s not fair”. Children have this idea that if their brother or sister got half a cup of chocolate milk, then they should have a half cup of chocolate milk. If their brother or sister was able to watch TV for an hour, then they should be able to watch TV for an hour.
Let’s face it. We all have this idea in our minds that things have to be fair, and that’s not all bad. The Bible tells us to look out for those who are being treated unfairly, and if they are and we can do something to help them, them we should help them. It says in the book of Isaiah, “Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.” (Isaiah 1:17, NLT).
God is telling us that we should stand up for those who are oppressed, or who are treated unfairly. We should help those who are being taken advantage of. We should help those who are vulnerable and need our assistance.
It says in the book of Proverbs that, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8-9, NLT).
God instructs us to help those who need help. In order to do so we have to be able to understand the difference between what is right and wrong, what is fair and what is unfair. But it is not always easy for us to understand if something is fair or not, especially when it is happening to us or to those around us.
Take for example Job in the Bible. Job was a very good man. He was very rich and yet he treated his servants fairly, he took care of his children, and he prayed to God and worship Him. Then one day God allowed Job to be tested. God allowed Satan to kill all of Job’s children, and burn down their houses. He let Satan send enemies to steal all of Job’s wealth – his animals and crops. God gave Satan the green light to inflict Job with sickness as long as Satan did not kill Job. That doesn’t sound very fair to us, nor did it sound very fair to Job.
God did not tell Job what He was up to. Job couldn’t understand why all these bad things were happening to him. Job was angry and upset and cried out to God because Job felt like what was happening to him was not fair.
Sometimes we get it wrong. Sometimes like Job we think we are being treated unfairly because we are suffering, but it not unfair, we just don’t understand what God is up to. Job complained to God and wanted to straighten God out. Finally God said to Job, ““Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words?” (Job 38:2, NLT).
Sometimes we are like Jonah and we think God is unfair because we are not getting what we want. Jonah wanted to see this city called Ninevah destroyed because the people of Ninevah were very violent, much like Somalia, much like Mogadishu. The people of Ninevah were know for their violence, as Somalis are today. Not all Somalis are violent, but Somali has a reputation for being violent, a reputation that goes around the world.
Jonah therefore wanted to see Ninevah destroyed. He wanted to see the people killed because they were violent. But God had mercy on them because they turned away from their sins and they started to worship God. The people of Ninevah realized that they were not following God and they were sorry for their sins and they started to live for God.
We read in the book of Jonah,
“When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:
“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”
When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.” (Jonah 3:7-10, NLT).
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see the President of Somali proclaim a day of fasting and prayers for all the violent sins that Somalis have committed. Wouldn’t it be good for him to humble himself and for all Somalis to ask God to forgive them of their sins, as the people of Ninevah did. Perhaps God would bring healing to their land.
It is not easy to understand at times what is fair and what is not fair. Jonah was very mad at God because God did not wipe out the Ninevites. God did not kill all those people and Jonah was very angry about it.
Jonah became very angry with God because Jonah did not understand how loving and kind and merciful God was to spare the people from getting destroyed because they had turned away from their sins and turned to God. Jonah was angry with God because their was something wrong with Jonah’s heart. Jonah was the one being unfair because the people had turned away from their sins and had turned to God. Jonah should have been happy, but he was angry. Jonah’s heart was wrong.
It is the same for many of you Somalis. Many of you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have turned away from your sinful ways and confessed to God that you are a sinner. You have asked Jesus Christ to come into your heart and live there. You are now saved and born again. But those around you, your family, your clan, your nation, don’t understand that what you have done is a good thing, and just like Jonah they want to see you killed. But God has spared you and kept you alive. God has forgiven you of your sins and accepted you into the family of God. You have been adopted by God and have become His son or daughter.
So let us all use our salvation to glorify God and live for Him. Let us use the gifts and talents we have so that we can bring others to know God. Let us help those who need help and speak up for them. Let us pray for those who are sick and hurting and visit the widows and orphans. Let us keep our eyes open so that we can see who it is that God is sending us our to help.
In Jesus name, Amen