Thoughts About What We’re Reading…
Today we turn to the Book of Jonah in our reading.
The story goes something like this – Jonah a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 14:25-27), receives a word from the Lord to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because of their wickedness. (Jonah 1:2)
Jonah upon hearing this word from the Lord, jumps up and sets sail – in the opposite direction!
Jonah learns quickly that you cannot flee from the Lord, as Jonah is tossed off the ship, swallowed by a large fish, has an epiphany while in the belly of the fish, realizes his mistake (being in the belly of a fish will do that to you) and cries out – Salvation is of the Lord!
The fish vomits Jonah up on dry land.
Then the word of the Lord is given to Jonah a second time – it sounds much like the first time – “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” (Jonah 3:1)
Jonah begrudgingly preaches the Word – the city repents, and Jonah ends up upset that the enemy of his people have repented and turned to the Lord.
When we hear or read about the story of Jonah, we immediately think about a man being swallowed by a whale.
Some treat the story as a fable, some as a scientific impossibility, while others limit the story to a children’s book or something taught in children’s Sunday school.
But the story of Jonah is really a story about decay in a believer’s heart, a story of rebellion against God’s calling and subsequent discipline, sovereign grace and mercy.
Jonah was resentful of the people of Nineveh. Nineveh was the military capital of Assyria, (modern day Iraq) a people known for its unbounded violence and evil.
Israel had suffered at the hands of Assyria.
Knowing the grace of God as he did, Jonah suspected God’s purposes toward hated Nineveh – He was going to save them!
Jonah did not want Nineveh to be blessed because of what Assyria had done to Israel in the past.
Jonah understood the Lord as his God and Israel’s God – but not the God of Nineveh.
The Bible teaches that God is God of all the earth and all peoples.
We do not want to be like Jonah – seeking grace and salvation for ourselves yet unforgiving in extending grace to others.
How easy it is for us to ask God’s blessing for ourselves, while praying against those who have harmed us – be it a government, or an individual. We go about life with little regard of the souls that surround us every day.
Resentment toward God’s grace is a sure sign of spiritual decline, and reveals a deep ignorance of God’s sovereign grace and mercy.
Like the prophets of old we are to call our 8-15, leaders, nation and peoples of the earth to repentance and be willing to be used as instruments and messengers of God’s grace and mercy through prayer, preaching, and service.
Salvation is of the Lord! Amen!
Until next time… keep reading!
Excerpts for this blog were taken from the book: Jonah & Micah by Richard D. Phillips