Letter To Our Children
by Pastor Joe | October 19, 2022 | Letters To Our Children
You probably know the story of Jonah. He was a prophet (proclaimer of God’s word) disobedient to God. He runs from God and, in his running, is swallowed by a great fish.
People have often thought the story is simply about how Jonah learned to obey God. However, there is much more.
In this short book, we learn about relating to people who are culturally and religiously different from us. We learn God has great compassion for people who are wicked and do wrong. We learn cities are important to God. We learn Jonah wanted a God of his own making. A God who would thrash bad people like the wicked Ninevites but blessed only the good people like Jonah and his fellow Hebrews. No grace. No mercy. Only punishment.
But, when the true God and not Jonah’s, made up in his head God, keeps showing up, Jonah gets angry and despairs. He cannot put together the mercy of God with the justice of God. He is frustrated and angry enough to die (4:8,9).
Therefore, Jonah was not only sent to the very important city of Nineveh (1:1-2,4:11) to tell them to repent but also to learn; to learn how God can be merciful and forgiving to people who have done such violence and evil.
You see, if God isn't merciful and forgiving to people who have done violence and evil, then who in the whole human race could be forgiven and treated with mercy by God?
Jonah wanted the citizens of Nineveh’s blood (4:1-3), but in the Gospel, God’s only Son, Jesus, shed His own blood for our sins. Jonah never wept over the city of Nineveh. Jesus, the true prophet, wept over the city of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41). He is the weeping God in chapter 4 in human form.
His is a perfect heart, not excusing their sin, not harshly condemning, but providing a way out. He substitutes Himself for us, therein He is a God you can trust. Jonah mistrusted the goodness of God. The people of Nineveh counted on it. You can too.
Have a peaceful week.