In most of the prophetic books of the Bible, the focus is the message of the prophet. But in the book of Jonah, the focus is not so much on the message, but on the prophet. Jonah himself is the message.
His actions remind us that man is not like God. Jonah is a perfect example of privileged hypocrisy and merciless pride. And in reading this book we see ourselves in the prophet. We are all like Jonah. Everyone is a sinner no matter what God calls them to do. Jonah was a prophet, and yet in the same need of grace as the Ninevites. There is no one righteous not even one. (Romans 3:10)
In these verses, we see the worst side of Jonah. An entire city repents. It’s a huge revival, and Jonah is upset. He wanted the people of Nineveh to get what they deserved instead of the kindness and mercy of God.
It’s clear that Jonah did not understand grace very well. He did not understand that he deserved the same judgment the Ninevites deserved. That he was just as deep of a sinner as the people he reluctantly called to repentance. If he had truly understood grace, he would not have had such an attitude of superiority. He would joyful, not frustratingly, celebrated God’s free gift to all who would repent.
If Jonah is the message then we need to ask ourselves what we should be learning. What is God teaching us through the life of Jonah?
The message of Jonah’s life could be one of warning.
Do you find yourself looking down on other sinners? Do you think you are not as bad as the person in jail? While the consequences of our sins may differ here on earth, each one of our sins, great or small, required the death of Jesus. We are no better than anyone else. We are simply sinners saved by the grace and mercy of a great God.
The message of Jonah could be one of encouragement
Jonah did not understand why God was doing what He was doing. Frankly, he disagreed with God. But God’s ways are not our ways, they are better – even when we don’t understand them. One day we will get to meet some of these people from Nineveh. They will be among the many in heaven praising God. Jonah may not have understood why God would send him to these wicked people, and that’s okay. God does not answer to us. But He is good and fair, kind and righteous. In the end, it will all make sense and it will be beautiful.
Don’t allow God’s mysterious ways to make you angry or believe that your plan is better than God’s. He is God and we are not. Rejoice in the truth that whatever God does is good and right.
Looking to Jesus,
Week 4 Reading Plan
Week 4 Memory Verse
WEEk 4 Challenge:
Jonah really struggled with God’s plan. It produced in him frustration, anger, and disobedience because he didn’t have a good grasp on the grace of God. Think about or write down ways you struggle with God’s plan. Think about the goodness and grace of God, maybe find some verses on these aspects of his character, and write down how these truths can help you accept God’s plan.
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