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August 14, 2023 - Jonah 1-4

The Lord to Jonah: “Get up! Go . . .” (1:2). Several years ago, a student stayed with us while taking a class at Southern. He wrote, “I pray the years ahead are the best years of your lives and marriage. I pray you both submit to the Lord’s will in your life and He uses you for His glory.”

Submission to God's will. Wherever that leads. That was tough for Jonah, and often is tough for all of us. Of course, it was more than merely tough for Jonah. He ran! But he couldn’t run fast enough or far enough to get away from God!

So, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. ‘Get up! Go . . .’” (3:1). A second chance! And this time, Jonah went, though begrudgingly. But go he did! And the king and people of Nineveh turned from their evil ways and God relented from the judgment. God wanted to spare the city, and he wanted to do so by sending his prophet to preach to them. Even with an unwilling and grouchy prophet, God accomplished exactly what he intended. And what was his intention? To bring to himself many from the Assyrian city.

How great the mercy of God as displayed in his final statement to Jonah: “Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?” (4:11) Once again, we are confronted by the wonderful grace of our God!

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven;

to his feet your tribute bring.

Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,

evermore his praises sing.

Alleluia, alleluia!

Praise the everlasting King!

Praise him for his grace and favor

to his people in distress.

Praise him, still the same as ever,

slow to chide, and swift to bless.

Alleluia, alleluia!

Glorious in his faithfulness! -- Henry Francis Lyte (1834)

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