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June 28, 2021 – Jonah 1-4

Jonah is a tough book for us to grapple with. You know the story; I’ll not retell it. It’s the callousness and hardness of Jonah’s heart that just overwhelms us. He gets angry (4:1) because God shows amazing pity toward a great city (4:11)? Wow! Johannes Verkuyl puts it like this:


“Israel has become so preoccupied with herself that she no longer directs her eyes toward the world of the nations. Israel, the recipient of all God’s revelation, refuses to set foot in alien territory to tell the other peoples God’s message of judgment and liberation. But the message of the book also is addressed to the New Testament congregation which tries various ways of evading her Lord’s command to speak his message to the world.”


In short, Jonah (Israel) seems not to possess the mind of God. God thinks about the whole world – Jonah (Israel) seems to think only of himself. God has compassion for the whole world – Jonah seems to loath the rest of the world. God will do whatever is necessary to bring salvation to the world – Jonah is angry that anyone else besides himself is invited to the party. In contemporary terms, the danger is that we will possess the mind of Jonah and Israel rather than that of God. Let’s have the mind and heart of God, which causes us, with great longing, to sing:


Rescue the perishing,

Care for the dying,

Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;

Weep o’er the erring one,

Lift up the fallen,

Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save.

Rescue the perishing,

Care for the dying;

Jesus is merciful,

Jesus will save. –Fanny Crosby

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