I heard a good message from Jonah Wednesday night… it started me pondering some thoughts about the book of Jonah.
- First, it hit me pretty hard that there is much of God’s goodness in the book of Jonah.
Jonah could have only been one chapter instead of four. God is utterly holy and righteous, and does not “owe” any man anything. God did not “owe” Jonah a second chance – instead of a whale, that could have been a shark in the water. The sailors throw Jonah overboard, and CRUNCH! End of the story.
Yet, God was merciful and did give Jonah a second chance. Indeed, He was gracious to give the fisherman a way out. He was gracious to care for the people of Ninevah; He was gracious not to kill Jonah either time that Jonah asked to be killed.
- As far as results go, Jonah is (as far as I know), had the best results of any preacher ever… yet he no doubt had the worst attitude and heart for the people to whom he was preaching. This shows us that it is about God, not about us. He can use anyone. Perhaps preaching would be more effective if preachers focused less on themselves and more on Christ (Many months ago, I was challenged to listen to a contemporary preacher and count the references to himself and the references to Jesus Christ. I then heard someone reading a sermon of Charles Spurgeon, and the differences were striking)
- To turn the first part of Jonah into an allegory, we are like the fishermen in Jonah… helpless and in danger of death. They only way of escape is a sacrifice, which Jesus has made for us.