Over the course of the last year we have embarked on a survey through the 38 books of the Old Testament. I must tell you this has been very challenging, yet profoundly rewarding for all of us.
We are continually amazed at the contemporary significance of what many dismiss as "old, irrelevant & boring." Sunday evening we went through Jonah, which, I believe is the most mission-minded book of the Old Testament. It reveals the heart of God to the Jew first and then the Gentiles. As one of the most ridiculed books of the Bible by liberal scholars, it displays the Sovereign hand of a merciful and patient God with His prodigal prophet.
It is important to remember that this is not a book about a whale! It's not a book about a ship at sea, or gourd with miracle grow. It is a book about God's dealing with a wayward man so that he would obey Him and carry out His mission.
He figured in his mind, "if I get far enough away, God will have to get somebody else to go to those rotten Assyrians."
Have you ever done something like that in your mind?
I want you to understand that Jonah, in his prejudice, saw the Assyrians as unworthy of salvation, and God's lovingkindness. He had rejected the principle of grace and exchanged it for a doctrine of works. Jonah, and his people, the Israelites, had forgotten that God's blessings were the product of God's grace, not the result of Israel's righteousness or superiority over the Gentiles.
None of us are deserving of God's saving grace (Rom. 3:10).
I find it significant that God didn't just let Jonah sink to the bottom of the sea and raise up someone else God loved Jonah personally and wanted to use him for a special purpose. I love the fact that God chases after us, even though may be in a state of rebellion.
He doesn't just write us off when we stumble.
Praise Him today as you consider His patience in your life! He wants to use each of us to reach the world for Christ - are you available?