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Showing posts with the label Grace

Jonah: A Second Chance to Screw It Up

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I love the way Jonah 2 ends. Right after the prayer concludes, it says this:
And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
(Jonah 2:10) Can you imagine what that would feel like? It's one thing to be swallowed, but to be vomited up? I can't even handle it when one of my children throw up. I get nauseous and feel like I'm going to puke, too. Thankfully my wife has a stronger stomach and less of a gag reflex. The thought of actually being thrown up - along with all the bile and remains of undigested fish food....

But it's really no different than what Jesus says about lukewarm, stale, tepid Christians.
I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
(Revelation 3:15-16) When God commanded the fish to regurgitate the rebellious prophet, the fish was probably relieved. Jonah was that tepid, wishy-washy fence-sitter t…

Jonah: Head Above Water

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When we left off, our rebellious prophet was recruiting the pagan Gentile sailors to assist him in committing suicide.
“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” (Jonah 1:12) But the sailors didn't buy into this crazy scheme and tried for Plan A.2 - row to shore. But they couldn't. God/the storm wouldn't let them. Jonah tried to force God's hand in overthrowing the Assyrians by running from the mission. Now God is forcing the sailors' hands to throw Jonah overboard - Jonah's idea, not God's, just so we're clear. God never asked this of Jonah.
Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm...Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. (Jonah 1:15, 17)FINALLY! Here's the fish! Now we get to pull out the flannel graph board and sick a kneeling/feta…

Jonah: Unnecessary Sacrifice

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Last time we saw that Jonah spilled the beans about who he was, what God he served, and what he was doing on the boat. Jonah was a Hebrew. He was a worshiper of YHWH, the creator of the sea and dry land. And he was on the boat because he was running from YHWH, the creator of the sea, ON THE SEA.

The rest of the sailors are rightfully panicked.
This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” (Jonah 1:10-12) Wait, what? This raises so many questions for me. Let's look at the a bit more closely.

WHAT GOD WANTS VS. WHAT JONAH WANTS

What does God want? God wants Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against it in order that they might …

Jonah: World's Worst Prophet

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I may be one of the few people in the world who considers Jonah among my favorite books of the Bible. Don't @ me. The book of Jonah has a lot of things going for it:
Emphasis on God's grace, mercy, love, and forgivenessHigh seas adventureNear death experiencesA man swallowed by a gigantic sea creatureAn entire city on the verge of destructionAngry outbursts and melodrama by the overly emotional main characterA protagonist that you just can't really like, but is also super relatableTwists, reversals, and ironic situationsA cliff hanger ending There has been a lot of debate in scholarship about whether Jonah is based on a true story or if it's merely a fictional parable. I'm not going to get into it much except to say that it has a lot of similarities to the stories of Elijah and Elisha. If it's based on a true story, then it's quite a remarkable tale! But if it's not grounded in fact, it is still an amazing story that illustrates God's love to its ful…