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Contemplating Jonah

August 21st, 2009

I’ve been doing a better job at studying and preparing for Sunday School earlier in the week.  And this month long study on finding our place in God’s will has been one good passage after another.  Last week was Gideon, this week Jonah.

Jonah is a nice short book, you can read the whole thing in a few minutes, but it’s so layered and rich, it bears a lot of contemplation, and reflection.

But first, let’s grab a verse from Jeremiah that I ran across in my other quiet times.

The human mind is more deceitful than anything else. It is incurably bad. Who can understand it? – Jeremiah 17:9

That kinda begs for some context, doesn’t it?  I’d read the surrounding passage, and it describes ‘one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.’  The passage describe him becoming like a bush in the wastelands… dwelling in the desert.  The examination of the heart/mind in verse 9 is the final determination of this man.  Our only hope is to trust in God.  Outside of that we are doomed to the selfish nature of our deceitful heart/mind.

Jonah understood that perfectly.

And he still did the exact opposite of what God asked of him.  In the belly of the fish, he was thankful to God for his rescue.  He gave thanks and rededicated himself to God’s mission.  And with fish guts still in his ears he trekked to Nineveh, and did as God bid him, and proclaimed their impending doom.  They listened, and repented.

The God did exactly what Jonah knew he would do.  God had compassion and cancelled the destruction.

That ticked Jonah off. Why? Because Jonah knew that He would do that.

How odd.


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  1. deboobily
    August 23rd, 2009 at 07:31 | #1

    Unfortunately, Jonah is a picture of many modern-day Christians – aka “pharisees” – who believe all too well in the God of holiness and judgement but forget that God is also perfect in his mercy and longsuffering in His compassion. Yes, God has a standard of perfection which we all fall dismally short of achieving (Rom. 3:23), but He is also patient and merciful, not willing that ANY should perish.

    Additionally, we too often forget that it is not our place to judge the sinner, but to love the sinner to Christ. It is God’s job to convict, not ours. Jonah is a mirror where we can see the painful reflection of our own pride and arrogance.

  2. August 23rd, 2009 at 11:29 | #2

    Might ask Matt for confiatiom, but I think Spock would categorize Jonah as ‘human’.

    It’s odd, that when the Pharisees asked Jesus for a sign, the only sign he’d show them was the sign of Jonah, then God went and did it again, and provided for the salvation of all the people the Pharisees wanted to see perish.

    Also good to remember that in God’s plan, He brought along a great Pharisee, then sent him to the Gentiles. So there is even hope for Pharissea like me.

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