Jonah 4: God who rescues - Simon S

Repentance of the whole city is more profound a miracle than the fish

Jonah knew God would be gracious and merciful and It displeased Jonah exceedingly. He was furious and angry. His worst fear for running away was that he did not want Ninevah to repent. Even if there was a chance of Ninevah repenting then he got as far away as possible. God might even care for these hated people

How could a good God allow such evil people to be forgiven? A God who was full of steadfast love. Ex 34:6 God relented from judging Israel after they made the golden calf.

The same God delivered the enemy of Israel. Spared from the judgment they deserved. Jonah is acting the complete opposite of the God he worshiped. Quick to anger, lacking in grace and mercy, no love for his neighbour and would rather see disaster strike his enemies.

Jonah says I know who you are. I know what you are like but why do you have to show it to them. Why show THEM mercy instead of justice? Why are you showing THEM redemption instead of punishment. Nineveh deserves judgement, not mercy for their evil and their wickedness.

There is offence in the prophet’s voice. Jonah’s hatred is literally killing him inside. Rather be dead than see Ninevah saved. Jonah literally cannot live with this. Fate worse than death. Jonah only a few days earlier prayed salvation belongs to the Lord and was rescued from certain death is now enraged by the sight of salvation and rescue from certain death being shown to his enemies. A hypocrite.

Gods response to Jonah’s cry, are you right to be angry..why do you resent God’s compassion on your enemies?

Jonah went to see what would happen to Ninevah? Maybe they would repent of their repentance? Then he would have been right and justified.

Jonah hangs around to see what happens next. 

Every character in the story so far has repented except Jonah. Jonah is the prophet and yet the furthest away from God. It is the prophet Jonah who needed to be rescued from his understanding to be God’s people. Grace and mercy to Gods people and judgment and wrath to his enemies.

God cares about a city. God shows Jonah how upside down his values are. Learn to show some love and compassion to the Ninevites. Should we be concerned about our city, way more than 120,000 people?

The story is saying something to you the reader. Satire. Humour, irony. All characters act in the opposite way to what you would expect.

When we read Jonah to day it challenges us in the way God loves his enemies. Does it make us more compassionate or angrier. Its easy to point the finger at Jonah, we judge ourselves. We are exceedingly happy when grace is shown to us but not when it is shown to our enemies. Our enemies are not worthy of Gods compassion.

We are the ones needing to be rescued. Who do we deem less valuable of God's love and compassion. God loves his enemies.

What is our attitude to our enemies outside these walls?

What does Jonah say about Jesus?
A gospel story. Both from Galillee, Both in the ground for 3 days and resurrected. Both sent on a rescue mission of salvation and life. Both preached to a great city. Both had something to say to about loving your enemies. Jesus took on judgement deserved by us. Jesus died that we might live.

Jonah is the story about the The God who rescues.

Jonah 3: God who forgives - David W

Jonah tried his best to run from the missionary task God had given him but when he finally confronted the Ninevite people with the warning of impending destruction the fearsome Ninevite people repented.

David asks us to consider where our Ninevah might be and were we fear to go and witness to God's love and grace. He also asks us to consider our own repentance and to turn back to God.

Where in the community are you representing Jesus and forming friendships with people to share the good news with them? We can also be Jonah's to our society and to call out evil and wickedness requiring repentance.

Jonah is a story of grace and repentance that resonates with the world's need today.

Jonah 2: God who restores - John W

John takes us to Jonah Ch 2 with a fresh look and asks

  • Where do we go in distress, do we call on God?
  • Do we acknowledge that we can’t save our selves and that we need God to save us?
  • Have we changed our mind about God so that it is Your kingdom come, Your will be done?
  • Do we believe the sign that He has given us?

The chapter shows us that
God is a God who wants to restore us and give us a second chance.
A picture of God’s greatest sign, the sign of the resurrection, Jesus has overcome death.
Jesus tells us he is the resurrection and the Life.
It gives a parallel view from the Psalms on the suffering of Jesus.


 

Jonah 1: God without borders - Andrew S

We commence a short series on the Book of Jonah. Andrew brings us a rich overview of the power of the Assyrian nation at the time of Jonah and the severity of the Ninevites and suggests reasons to understand why Jonah acted in disobedience to God at the thought that Israel's oppressors might be forgiven and redeemed.

The text instructs us that the Lord God is the the God of the Jews and the Gentiles. Jonah is unique in that it is the only account of a prophet speaking to a Gentile nation for the benefit of the nation, and not for any benefit or instruction to Israel. It is a book of mission.

Andrew explains that the use of a great fish to deliver wisdom of salvation was completely in keeping with the mythology of the Assyrians who believed that all wisdom for civilisation came from seven sages who appeared from the sea. Assyrian iconography and sculpture depicts men in the form of fish giving teaching and instruction.

Andrew also parallels the account of Jesus in the boat in the storm in Mark 4 and Jonah asleep in a boat in a storm. Jesus is sleeps perfectly connected to the will of the Father while Jonah is detached and immune to his circumstances and his role for the salvation of the sailors. The parallel is drawn with out own lives as to whether we are connected or detached from God's will.