Do you look around the city of Bendigo with pity? I do, but not all the time. For here’s a confession, sometimes I have a heart like Jonah that needs some redirection – and this only comes from God’s gracious word.
This Sunday we come to the final episode in the Book of Jonah, where this prophet seems like he has the world’s worst job – when actually he is the world’s worst missionary.
The tension building in Jonah’s life comes out in an angry and explosive prayer to God in chapter 4. It’s here after God has graciously cared for Jonah through a storm, and then inside the belly of a fish, , then forgives the great city of Nineveh as they repent – that Jonah erupts and prays: “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.”
On Sunday we are going to see what it looks like for an angry prophet to confront the gracious God, and how God so kindly points Jonah in the direction away from self-pity to pity for people. For God’s last word on the matter is this: “And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
Should God not pity the city of Bendigo? Should not I?
Why not read ahead, pray and prepare your heart to hear God’s message through the prophet Jonah – for you, and for Bendigo’s sake.
In the word with you,