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Guest Blogger: My Wife

January 5, 2009

Well, I just got done reading through the book of Jonah, and Ben thought it would be nice for me to share some things that stood out to me as I read through the book, so here I am. I am totally inexperienced with the whole blogging thing, so here’s my first go… And just to warn you, I tend to be very long-winded, so if this is longer than the norm, my apologies. Trust me, I cut out a lot already – I could write pages on this stuff!

Well… Almost everybody knows the story of Jonah: God tells him to go to Nineveh and preach repentence, but Jonah refuses. He sets out for Tarshish (the opposite direction) and gets stuck in a God-sent storm. He realizes that he and the fishermen in the boat with him are in the mess they are in because of him, and volunteers to be thrown overboard. As this happens God sends a great fish to swallow him and save him from drowning. After three days (or at least part of three days), God causes the fish to spit Jonah out. Jonah reluctantly preaches to Nineveh and the whole city repents and is spared of the destruction God was going to send. Jonah is totally ticked off by this and wishes God would kill him! God sends him some relief by giving him shade from the hot sun through a plant, but when that same plant dies, Jonah’s broken up about it. God poses a question to him (and the reader) at the end of the book that is meant to make him contemplate the motives in his heart.

Here’s the part that interests me the most. God is so faithful to carry out his purposes through Jonah that he “appoints” several things to happen to Jonah to bring about that purpose. First he hurls the storm to hit the sea, then He appoints the whale to swallow Jonah. He appoints a plant to grow and give Jonah shade (when he is begging to die), and finally He appoints a worm (along with a scorching wind) to wither that same plant. It made me realize two things: One, that God is unstoppable and will have his way every single time (whether that feels like the easy way or the hard way for us!); and two, that He truly orchestrates every detail of our lives to bring about his good plans. It makes me think of Psalm 139 – it’s incredible to think of how well he knows us and how involved he is in our every day. Amazing.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is the question God posed to Jonah at the close of the book. At the end, he essentially asks Jonah, “Are you really going to pity the death of the shade plant and at the same time be angry and bitter over the repentence of the people of Nineveh who were once totally morally unaware but now have received My forgiveness?” Jonah’s heart is totally selfish and a mess. If you read the book carefully you’ll see that at one point Jonah is praising God for his mercy and abounding love because he was the recipient (when he was rescued from the storm at sea); just a chapter or two later Jonah resents this same compassion and mercy from God because it is directed toward people who he thinks are unworthy. God’s question to Jonah made me check my own heart; so I’ll throw the question out there for you to answer: Do you find that you are  concerned about the things that concern God, or are you (like I sometimes am) too concerned over the small inconveniences in your own life to see the bigger plan of God at work in and around you? I realized that I don’t want to sweat the small stuff and miss the purposes of God unvealed in my world.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. marksantistevan permalink
    January 5, 2009 7:57 pm

    great post, you should do this more often.

    great job tracing the theme of the sovereignty of God in the book of Jonah. despite our best (or worst) efforts, God will have His way in our lives and use us whether we’re willing or unwilling.

    great job relating to the question at the end of the book. it’s great to engage in conversation with the Biblical text. this is when God uses His Word to really transform us.

    really good post, i was both encouraged and challenged by it.

    mark

  2. Benjamin Davis permalink
    January 6, 2009 3:33 am

    Well said Mark. You sound smart… I love it. Thanks for encouraging Abbie.

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