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Bible Trek 2016 - Jonah, God's Mercy is Relentless

The book of Jonah presents one of the Bible’s most entertaining stories, right up there next to Daniel and the Lion’s den. The story begins with God telling Jonah to go and preach God’s judgment in the Assyrian city of Ninevah. Upon receiving the word, Jonah went to Joppa and took a ship to Tarshish, 2500 miles in the opposite direction “to flee from the Lord.” God stirred up a storm, scaring the sailors on board. Jonah, realizing God’s hand, asked the sailors to throw him into the sea so that God would not destroy all of them. They did so. Jonah was swallowed by a large fish. After 3 days in the fish, he broke down and prayed, promising to fulfill his vow. The fish spit him out onto dry land. Jonah went to Ninevah and preached God’s judgment. At this point, it is instructive to ask, “What made Jonah run?” Was he a coward, afraid of preaching in a foreign land? Was he just stubborn and disobedient, a backslidden prophet who only cared for his own life? Was he ignorant and naïve, not realizing God’s power? One might make such assumptions until they read 4:2 “But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Jonah had just finished preaching in Ninevah and behold, the Ninevites repented. God, recognizing their genuine repentance relented and decided not to destroy them. Jonah was “angry” because God preserved Israel greatest enemy. Prophets were already foretelling the destruction of Israel through the hands of the Assyrians. “Why would God save the enemies to God’s people?” Jonah thought. No, Jonah was not a coward. He was one of the bravest men in Israel. He was willing to be thrown into the ocean and die so that his nation could be preserved from the Assyrians. No, Jonah was not backslidden. He obviously loved God’s people so much he was willing to suffer personally rather than see their enemies strive. Of course, he realized that Jehovah was the one true God and the God destroys and that God has compassion. That is why he tried to “forestall” God’s compassion on Israel’s enemies. What he may not have realized is the extent of God’s mercy on the entire human race, those who are His people as well as those who have turned away from Him. God loves the world. It is not for us to decide who should receive God’s compassion and who should receive God’s judgment. We should learn to be faithful to bring the good news to every corner of the earth.
PowerPoint: https://onedrive.live.com/embed?cid=D7AEC51C53B4F932&resid=D7AEC51C53B4F...