Beyond Sunday

God's Broken Heroes: Jonah

August 02, 2023 King of Kings Church
God's Broken Heroes: Jonah
Beyond Sunday
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Beyond Sunday
God's Broken Heroes: Jonah
Aug 02, 2023
King of Kings Church

Jonah rejected his calling from God, but God didn't give up on him. Mike & Dan move chronologically through the book of Jonah to unpack the tale of this reluctant prophet and uncover what we can learn from God's insistence on having him carry out the mission.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Jonah rejected his calling from God, but God didn't give up on him. Mike & Dan move chronologically through the book of Jonah to unpack the tale of this reluctant prophet and uncover what we can learn from God's insistence on having him carry out the mission.

Stay up to date by following us on your favorite social networks.

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

Have questions or comments? Email us at contact@kingofkings.org.

Thanks for listening!

Speaker 1:

Hey there, king and King's Family. Welcome into another episode of Beyond Sunday Sermons. This is the series in which we take a recent Sunday message and just get a chance to dive into it a little bit more. Kind of unearth some of the things that get left on the cutting room floor when you only have 30 to 35 minutes to teach on a Sunday. Plus, we can get some different voices in here, get some different perspectives. It's just kind of fun to explore the message a little bit more, and we've got a really good one today. Joining me is Director of Ministry Mike White. I almost remember the title.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you do seem very confident right there, but that's okay.

Speaker 1:

I knew what it was, it's just as I was saying it, I was like, oh boy, am I going to mess up my boss's name? Nope, I remember. Director of Ministry Mike White.

Speaker 2:

Do you know what I do, though? That's a question no clue.

Speaker 1:

No, no, no, I don't know that I just know titles. Anyway, enough of that silliness. We're here today to talk about Jonah, but I want to talk about overall, just getting into this series that we went through. It was a series called God's Broken Heroes, which was kind of loosely based, actually, on a book that I wrote a couple of years ago, and the theme was really kind of examining these people, these heroes in the Bible that do great things, and so we look at their accomplishments and we put them up on this pedestal and we say, wow, I wish I could do things like David did. I wish I could do things like Paul Saul did. I wish I had the faith that Noah did.

Speaker 1:

These people were extremely flawed and did a lot of bad things. It's not them who are doing great things, it's God who's working through them and despite all their failures and all their flaws, god still loves them and says that's my guy, that's my girl, that's the person that I want to use. I'm not going to use some awesome warrior to accomplish this mission. I'm going to use Rahab, a prostitute. You know the things like that. Just when you kind of look at that theme overall, mike, how does that speak to you?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I've shared it before. I think, just as a kid growing up in church, you think everyone is a hero and perfect in scripture essentially, and then once you read it more you realize how flawed they are. And today's Jonah, and honestly he doesn't accomplish that much. He doesn't do anything really good. It's kind of half-hearted when he does do something good and they repent. But we'll get there in a minute. So he's an interesting one and I don't think we're know he's known for his flaws. I think he's known for being the belly of the fish, which we'll get to. But yeah, the concept is great. I would echo that with you. There are very few true shining stars in scripture that have very little blemishes, um, but Jonah's one that's pretty flawed pretty early on.

Speaker 1:

I imagine it like if you were going to play a two on two pickup game against some of the basketball pickup basketball game against somebody and your entire bank account is on the line, like it, it's all in and you get to choose any player in the world. So you've got LeBron James, you got Steph Curry available to you, whatever, and you choose, like a 54 year old accountant who just had hip surgery like three weeks ago, and you're like that's the guy I'm choosing. That's essentially what God does. He doesn't choose. You know the the most polished of us, a lot of times the greatest speakers. You know the the wealthiest, the people that it looks like are so perfect on the outside. He chooses. He chooses 12 fishermen and, um, just very raw people to be his disciples, like it's. It's amazing to me how he does this. Why do you think that God so often chooses the broken and the less polished, the last people that we would think would be good for the mission?

Speaker 2:

I mean that's the theme throughout scripture Israel, before they were Israel, the Hebrews they were small people that weren't that spectacular. I mean, like you said, david was chosen. He was the smallest, he was forgotten about in the lineup of the brothers, but I just think it shows God's majesty and magnitude and how he accomplishes purposes in spite of these people. Um, and also take away from you that accountants aren't good at basketball. That's like offensive. I mean, I was an accountant and I was decent at basketball, but maybe not anymore.

Speaker 1:

I would not pick you over stuff?

Speaker 2:

No, I don't think so. Your point's well taken. But yeah, I think God shines in spite of these people. I mean, that's like Jesus in the 12, they were pretty rough man. They had not made it, they were not successful in the world, they didn't get along different political tribes and that was who Jesus decided this is going to fulfill carry the church into the next chapter.

Speaker 1:

So no offense to all accounts or anyone who's recently had hip surgery. I think you guys are great basketball players too.

Speaker 2:

We just wouldn't choose you in a pickup with our money in the line, not with my bank account. Yeah, no.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so let's, let's get into Jonah a little bit here, and we're just going to go through his story chronologically, because it's a. It's relatively short, but I want to give you a chance before we get into what actually happened. So give us a little bit of backstory. Mike, I know that you're a historian, you, you, wow.

Speaker 2:

I would not throw that term around with me. I I enjoy history and context. I'm not a historian, though.

Speaker 1:

Okay, I'll put it a different way. You are someone who likes context a lot, so when you get into a book of the Bible you try to understand and put yourself in that time period and say, okay, what was going on at this time? What was the political landscape, kind of what's the backstory for, for the situation? That you get into Jonah here.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so I think we're. We're ninth century BC. Jonah's around around maybe eight, 75 issues, kind of the peak of his ministry, and we're after the Kings Saul, David, Solomon. What was the people of God in the Promised Land split and fractured into a Northern and Southern kingdom, and Jonah is based in the Northern kingdom. So that's that's not Jerusalem, that's where I think that the 10 tribes were.

Speaker 2:

In the North We've seen just a series of of wicked Kings. They've fallen short. They're turning away from their relationship with God. They had a covenant exclusively with God when they came into Promised Land. There was concern of other religions and people. It's not foreign people, but it's just that the people of God would adapt and adopt their religions and turn away from God where there's life. So we're seeing this, and so God would send different people over different times. We saw, we saw judges, we saw Kings, we saw prophets were people that God sent to call the people back to their committed relationship with God, because they wanted away. They were pursuing other religions. So we're seeing this grow. There's some political tensions with the Assyrians we'll see which will eventually take over the Northern kingdom in 722 BC. But Jonah's in the North and so he's called there to the North, to call them back to their relationship with God.

Speaker 1:

And you mentioned the Assyrians. They play a very big role in this story.

Speaker 2:

Just a very, very they're the hero in some way, which is wild and we'll get there.

Speaker 1:

But yes, but entering this story they're anything, anything but right.

Speaker 1:

They are a very evil, violent, yes, just no rules sexually type of people. In fact, the book of Nahum, which comes a little bit after Jonah, describes the nation of Assyria this way it's a city of blood, with many casualties, piles of dead bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses. Not exactly a great place to visit. These people are very, very evil. And so Jonah is the prophet and God comes to him and says hey, I need you to go to the city of Nineveh, which was the capital of Assyria, and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up against me. And there's no response recorded from Jonah in the Bible. All we know is he turns around, goes the other direction, gets on a boat for a city called Tarshish, which was 2,500 miles in the opposite direction. What do you think is going through his head at this point?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean that was his answer to God, and I think what's fascinating is again, as a prophet, you're called to call people back to the relationship with God. So he was totally fine in that role as long as it was in his territory. But once God wanted him to go to wicked foreign people, he punted that job and then ran in the opposite direction. So we don't know if there was any prayer or dialogue with God, but he gave God an answer very clearly and he goes thousands of miles away to run away and advocates his call as a prophet.

Speaker 1:

I think what's really interesting about this is when I was growing up, I always assumed that Jonah was afraid of the Assyrians because, like, we just talked about very violent people. So if Jonah shows up and is just like, hey guys, what you're doing is wrong, you gotta stop, at first they're probably gonna make fun of him and just be like whatever dude, like we're not listening to you, and if he persists they might get violent with him, they could hurt him, they could imprison him, they could kill him. So I thought that's why he ran away, because he was afraid. But as we'll see as we get further on in Jonah, he was actually. He was afraid, but he was afraid that God was actually going to redeem and forgive the Assyrians and he didn't want that because he hated them so much.

Speaker 1:

And we see just the examples of God's mercy throughout the Bible Psalm 86-5, for you, oh Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Lamentations three 22, 23,. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercy's never count to an end. They're new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. Essentially, what God was asking Jonah to do is like a Holocaust, is like asking a Holocaust survivor, to go hug a Nazi or someone whose relative died in the 9-11 attacks to forgive a terrorist. I mean, this is it's a simple command on the page, but it was a really deep thing that God was putting out there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, they would have had some history with the Assyrians and it didn't look good. Like you said, very violent people, very wicked. They had acts of worship that were very sexual and violent in nature and those sorts of things, and so he didn't want to and, like you said, I don't think it was fear as much, even though they had very violent culture and aggressive, but he didn't want them to come to faith. And that's what's crazy that God chose a small people group to be his people.

Speaker 2:

But God's always been about the nations and we see that with the temple. That's why Jesus gets angry in the first century because they're selling birds and whatever else they're sacrifices, because the temple was meant to be a house of prayer, relationship with God for all nations. God always was about all the people of the earth. We see in 1st Timothy 2,4, I think it says that God desires all men or people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. So God's always been about all people. But Jonah's heart was not about all people. He'd written off the Assyrians and he, like you said, ran the other way.

Speaker 1:

Why do you think he ran? Because, I mean, jonah knows he's a prophet. He has spent time with God. We don't know how long, but Right, it just.

Speaker 2:

The book just starts. We don't know the.

Speaker 1:

Right, but we assume he's been in this role for quite some time. He understands God's power. Yeah, he knows. God knows where he is Like. He knows he can't run away from God, but he tries. Why do you think he does that?

Speaker 2:

I don't know. I think back to my kids. When they do something bad or they would have an accident in their pants or something, they would go run and hide away from us just to get away for fear of how mom or dad's gonna react. And maybe Jonah had that with God If I can just go as far as I can away, he'll forget about me. He'll find someone else, maybe I don't know. It's just kind of speculation there. What do you think.

Speaker 1:

Well, I kind of think of it in the same way that, like there's a part of me that wants to make fun of Jonah here, just the same way I want to make fun of, like, adam and Eve when they say, and then they try and hide from God, it's like what are you accomplishing here?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, he knows. It's like trying to play hide and seek with someone who knows your past, knows your present, knows your future. It's impossible. But don't we do the same thing all the time? I mean, there are times where I feel a tug on my heart and God telling me to do something, to forgive someone, to bring the gospel to someone, and I don't want to do it, right, yeah, and I don't get on a boat and go to Tarshish, but I run away from that opportunity.

Speaker 1:

And so, while this is obviously, you know, a little bit on a grander scale, I can kind of sympathize with Jonah a little bit and that he just maybe he thought, hey, if I get as far away from the situation as possible, maybe God will just pick somebody else and send them. But I think when we were discussing this off the mics, you brought up something that was really interesting. I mean, jonah just isn't leaving, he's moving, he's leaving this entire life that he has behind, this entire life in Israel, his calling as a prophet. He's just quitting at a moment's notice not no, two weeks notice, nothing like that and going in the other direction.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, I think it's. We look at them or say how ridiculous are you? Or maybe other people have seen miracles after miracles of God doing these things and they turn away. But I think we have that on a smaller scale sometimes, where they're sitting in our lives. We continue to do, and then there's guilt you run from God, you don't seek God out. So I think we have this in a micro capacity. Maybe it's not as literal, physical, thousands of miles running away, or there's a calling in our lives, like you've talked about, to share faith with people or to step into a certain career or take whatever step of faith and for whatever reason, we run away, and so I think we allow fear for us or shame or whatever it might be, to consume and we hide from God.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, so, speaking of hiding from God, we see Jonah. He's on this boat. He actually goes below deck and falls asleep, which there's this giant storm that comes up. God causes this storm because he's angry and he needs to reroute Jonah. And Jonah is asleep during this storm, which I just I find that fascinating. I don't really know what or how to read into it, but, like all the other fishermen and sailors on this boat are panicking and they are praying to their gods, who are false gods, but and they're all going crazy and Jonah is just asleep in the bottom of the boat, do you take anything away from?

Speaker 2:

that, yeah, it'd be conjecture. I mean, jesus sleeping in the boat reminded me in the storm. Is that a prefiguration of Christ? Obviously, this is in a negative way. Was there some kind of depression or mental health and he just shut down and was kind of done? I don't know. I mean, what do you think?

Speaker 1:

I don't know.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Like it's one of those things that I just find fascinating, but I almost think it's just like that was his way of just shutting off and basically powering down and saying I just I can't deal with this problem. I'm not going to deal with this problem. Not only am I going to run in the opposite direction, but I'm not going to think about it, I'm not going to pray about it. I'm just literally powering down and we'll see. You know, I'll deal with it when I wake up from this nap and we'll see what's going on.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and when he does wake up from the nap, there's a lot going on. So the other sailors have cast lots, realized that the problem why there's this big storm is because Jonah's on board. And they ask him and he says that he's a prophet, he's a Hebrew, and they were terrified, asked what have you done? And he basically said pick me up and throw me into the sea and everything will be okay. Right, so they do everything's immediately okay, and the sailors begin to worship the one true God. Right, yeah. And, and at that point a giant fish arrives and eats Jonah. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was a very polytheistic culture. And so we see before that it says they each call on their own God. So these were not followers of Yahweh, of the true God, right. And then they cast lots. It lands on Jonah. It says that Jonah already gave them that he was running from God, essentially in verses nine and 10. And then, I think, through the power of the storm, the casting lots running away, they come to realize that Jonah's God is real. And then what's crazy is these people who were wicked and worshiping false gods, they come to faith in the true God. And so we start to see this pattern start with these fishermen who fell away, rebelled, came to faith, and we're going to see it two other times with Jonah and then the Ninevites after this coming to faith. So it's kind of a cool pattern in chapter one, starting Jonah's journey.

Speaker 1:

And we'll revisit that pattern as we go along, because it keeps coming up again and again.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but then, like you said, they throw him overboard. It's actually God's grace and so I think there's punishment. But then God's grace, is this large fish or whale, we're not really sure. And then two is kind of we see Jonah crying out to God, which is really cool prayer section there.

Speaker 1:

Before we get into the prayer, I want to make note of something and that in like kids' Bibles and everything, when there's a depiction of Jonah inside the belly of the fish, it's a big old space. He's just kind of hanging out.

Speaker 2:

He's got a bed in the corner, a lamp and stuff like that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that was not reality. I mean, when you think, I mean I'm assuming there were like stomach fluids and there's a bunch of like old stinky water. There's other like little fish carcasses like around in there, I mean this was and Jonah compares it to being in the realm of the dead Like this is a really bad place to be in and Jonah is in a bad headspace because he doesn't know. We know now that after three days he gets spit out. He doesn't know that.

Speaker 1:

He doesn't know if God's going to leave him in there for weeks, months. He doesn't know if he's going to get digested and die. All he knows is he's here now and this is a really bad situation, and this is when he launches into his prayer.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. Yeah, I'd agree with you, it was not four-star living there.

Speaker 1:

It was nasty.

Speaker 2:

It was compressed, he didn't know his future. That's a great point. He's, moment by moment there and we see him, he's thankful, he's praying to God, he wants to, he looks forward and talks about going to the Holy Temple, but he also says he deserves this judgment, essentially in chapter two. So again we're seeing rebellion consequence, and then God's grace shows up to the fishermen, to Jonah, to the Assyrians, in three different steps.

Speaker 1:

There was something to me that really stood out in this prayer, but I want to get your thoughts first. From Jonah 2-2 through 2-10. Is there anything in there that kind of leaps off the page? Or, as you were examining it in preparation for this podcast, you're like, oh, that's kind of that's interesting.

Speaker 2:

I think we see a shift in the posture of Jonah's heart, where maybe there was arrogance, disobedience, unwillingness to fulfill the call as a prophet, and you see a broken Jonah there. I think you see his raw authenticity and crying out to God, where he acknowledges his own brokenness, he thanks him for hearing his cry, he's seeing God's provision in this case and he kind of looks forward to worshiping God in his Holy Temples is what he says, but he says his life is ebbing away. And then, god, you remember my prayer, yeah, so I think we see God's grace, his brokenness, I think we see it. It's short lived, but we see a transformation in Jonah's heart.

Speaker 1:

What do you think? What's that to you? Jonah 2-9.

Speaker 1:

The very last thing that he says in this prayer is salvation comes from the Lord. And I never really thought about this. But Jonah essentially tried to play God because he had the opportunity he doesn't know this, but he had the opportunity to give salvation or to bring salvation, or his message through God had the opportunity to bring salvation to the Ninevites and he said no, I don't want to do that, they don't deserve salvation. So he tried to play God and I think I do the same thing sometimes.

Speaker 1:

There are absolutely times where I hear or get that feeling. I don't hear an audible voice, but I get that feeling like God's saying hey, I want you to invite that person to church. Or hey, that person's really lonely, go talk to them. Or you know, I've got a best friend who's Jewish and it does not have a faith right now, and I hear God telling me. I thought about Scott last night and was like man, I should really talk to him and I haven't talked to him. So that verse spoke to me, because salvation comes from the Lord, but God does give us opportunities to help him. Be that message to other people and if we ignore those opportunities. It's almost like saying salvation comes from Dan or salvation comes from Jonah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I would say Jonah. I think it's a really good point. He's almost elevating himself to God and judge. And so in the beginning he's saying, no, they don't deserve to hear this message. His heart's shifted and I think God was doing that intentionally to shift his heart. But then we'll see coming up when he proclaims God's grace, that he doesn't feel like they deserve it, and so he exits the city, which we'll get to in a little bit. But there seem like there's a softening moment for Jonah. Again, very short lived, he gets right back to where he was with the Assyrians not deserving grace. They only deserve punishment from God.

Speaker 1:

Right, yeah. So we see that here he has this prayer God determines. Okay, he's back on track, he's ready to go. So after three days, fish vomit. I love how God just doesn't like take him out of the fish and like put him on dry land. No, he's got to get vomited out. God's still a little mad at him, right, right. So he gets vomited on to dry land. He goes to Assyria and he moves throughout. I mean Assyria, massive, massive city, but he goes throughout it proclaiming 40 more days and Nineveh will be overthrown. That's all that's recorded that he said. Maybe he said other stuff. We don't know that, but not the most powerful message I've ever heard, right, but the Ninevites hear this and they believe God. Immediately. They proclaim a fast. The king gets word of this Jonah guy going around in his message and he proclaims everyone, including animals, cannot eat.

Speaker 1:

Needs to worship God, pray for forgiveness and maybe at the end of these 40 days, god will forgive us.

Speaker 2:

It's the shortest sermon with the greatest impact ever 120,000.

Speaker 1:

120,000.

Speaker 2:

We don't know if they all came to faith or whatever happened, but it looks like it and they turn immediately. I love how it just kind of spreads through the common people and then gets up to the royalty and then the king steps up and then he leads the charge saying maybe he'll relent and not bring punishment on our city.

Speaker 1:

And then you see in Jonah 3.10, when God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. So I mean, what Jonah feared ended up happening. One more thing that I want to point out about Jonah is I find it so interesting that God didn't choose someone else, like after Jonah failed him the first time. He could have just said you know what? I've got other prophets, I've got other people that could do this. I'm gonna yeah, jonah's gonna get his, and then I'm gonna get somebody who's better. But no, he took Jonah, redirected him and said I'm not giving up on you, you're still gonna be the one who I empower to do this. Now go do it. What does that say to you? That God didn't give up on Jonah and choose someone else, but he kept saying this is my guy for this mission.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean he's got his plan Again. It's our flaws, our brokenness don't disqualify us. God doesn't throw away, but he sticks with him. You see it, Elijah, which I think we'll touch on. You see, Peter, this way there's just constant examples of people who fail, fall short, have unbelief with God in his plan, but God sticks with his plan and calls him. And I think for me and I don't know Hebrew, but the word compassion in 310 stood out, and that's where you see Jesus frequently in the New Testament, where it says he has compassion. It's like this guttural pain in your stomach for people.

Speaker 2:

Oh, interesting and so and it wouldn't be the same because it's in Greek in the New Testament. But like Matthew nine says he looks at the people and they're like it says he has compassion on them because they're like sheep without a shepherd, and so I think it's this hurting because they're heading in a bad pathway and they're not in relation, they're not being led well, they're not in relationship with God. And so I think you see God here, have compassion. But I don't know Hebrew versus Greek, what the wording is. But that just came to mind when we were looking at that.

Speaker 1:

That's really cool so. Jonah didn't think it was really cool.

Speaker 2:

He did not no no, he was.

Speaker 1:

He was pretty ticked about this, which is just. I mean, what preacher would give a message and have people you know respond to it so powerfully and then be like depressed but we see it here says 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 that is what I tried to first, all by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew you were gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, god, take away my life, for, as it is better for me to die than to live A little bit of a drama, queen.

Speaker 2:

Little dramatic. Here Again, it's like we talked about earlier. He doesn't. He knows God's going to bring compassion and grace on them and he does not want it. They're not deserving of this. He pouts, he runs away, he's dejected, he wants to die because he doesn't believe the Assyrians should come to relationship with God and he eventually goes outside the city.

Speaker 1:

I find it so ironic that Jonah is so distraught that God showed mercy to someone after God just did that to him.

Speaker 2:

That's it Fisherman to him. And again, god's hoping his heart changes to the Assyrians and it just he won't. He won't change, they're not deserving. And I think we can apply to us. I think they're probably people in our world that we don't believe deserve the grace of God because of their past, their lifestyle, their belief set, their political affiliation, whatever it might be. So I think we, we can do this too. He was on this, this macro scale, maybe like Jonah was, or it's not, as no, I think we could see people groups over time, like he used the Nazis in Germany. I'm sure there's a lot of Christians who didn't think they deserve the grace of God either, right, because of their atrocities and whichever world power we're against at the given time probably believe those people and we demonize, we dehumanize and we don't believe they're deserving of the grace of God.

Speaker 1:

I think a lot of people probably feel that with Russia.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know, and their invasion of Ukraine right now. Um and again, we could go in so many different directions. There are certain people in groups who don't want to invite you know, a member of the LGGQ plus community to church. There are Republicans who don't want to, don't want to see Democrats have any type of success or any type of faith, and and this story is just giving us another example that God does not see those boundaries. Like you said earlier, you know, faith is something that is to be for everyone. This, this free gift that he has, is not just for Jonah, it's not just for his people, but it is for everyone, including these terrible Assyrians, If they're willing to accept it. They were willing to accept it, and Jonah did not like it at all.

Speaker 2:

Um yeah, I think this is why we have to constantly go back to the cross and realize our brokenness. Put Jesus there. So it's not this measure of. Dan has a little bit more sin in his life than I have. It's like that. That's. That's what we have to look at and just say Jesus died for me. And he gives this illustration of um.

Speaker 2:

There's a woman who's anointing his feet and the Pharisees aren't happy, and so he shares a story about the different debts. I think it's 50 and 500. Who do you think will love him more? Well, the one that has 500 to narrow. I've, you know, forgiven, and so that that's what Jesus is getting to. And he's saying like you, you're dead is huge, whether it's 50 or 500, she's worshiping me because she realizes what I've done for her, what I'm going to do for her, and so I think this is for us turning back and realizing Jesus death and how much that was for us. And so we have no place for arrogance, we have no place for judgment. Uh, it was nothing on our own performance, it was all on Jesus performance, and so we should never have arrogance as a Christian. It's like this oxymoron that can't go together.

Speaker 1:

So I agree. Um, so it's. It's funny. God replies to Jonah's pity party by saying is it right for you to be angry? And then you mentioned Jonah goes outside the city, it's hot, he falls asleep. God creates a plant for him to shade him and then he sends a worm to eat the plant Plant gets eaten and Jonah gets mad again. He says it would be better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah is it right for you to be angry about the plant? And that really stood out. Well, I'll give you Jonah's response first. He says it is, and I'm so angry I wish I were dead. Keep repeating wish I were dead. God's not going to kill him.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

But I find it so interesting that God asked him almost the exact same question twice. Is it right for you to be angry? Why do you think he did that?

Speaker 2:

I mean he's redirecting his perspective and so Jonah is not getting the grace that Ninevites are receiving. He's not happy about that. And so there's this smaller example where God's showing that he provided shade and then takes it away. And he wants Jonah to respond and repent there too, and he doesn't. He's just more upset. So it's the same question, like he said, and he's just angry and the smaller. But then he can't grasp the larger God's compassion and he shows on the Ninevites.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and we see this at other points in the Bible. Specifically, you referenced Elijah earlier, but Elijah has a time where he kind of runs away from his mission and excuse me God, basically as he's hiding out, god says what are you doing here? And Elijah responds and God asked him again. He's like what are you doing here? Like he's not being repetitive, he's just like. I want you to get it, I want you to be able to formulate this in your head. I don't want to have to spell it out for you, but I want you to come to this understanding on your own. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And that's the same with Adam and Eve Like where are you? And they don't respond. He's giving humanity the chance to come back and come clean before him and realize who he is. And so Jonah does not do that with the repentance of the people, the vine that God provided, he doesn't get it. So I think it is that repetitive. Get you to hear and stop and listen to what's going on.

Speaker 1:

I love that you brought up Adam and Eve, because that was actually something else I thought about. I mean, god does this time and time again throughout the Bible, like he asks Abel where's your brother? After. Right he knows that Abel killed Cain. He asks Judas, are you betraying the Son of man with a kiss? Right before he kisses him, like he, he asks rhetorical questions that he knows the answer to because he wants us to come to that realization by ourselves and, ideally, redirect and learn from the situation.

Speaker 2:

It's a great way to teach and Jesus. I don't know the number. I think Pastor Zach had it. He was 162 questions or 262 questions, but when he's pressed on an issue he typically asks a question to get you to stop and think about what's going on. I think he's doing that here and Jonah just doesn't get it.

Speaker 1:

And so the book concludes with God saying you have not been concerned about this plant, or you have been concerned about this plant Right, though you did not tend to make it grow out, sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concerned for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and also many animals?

Speaker 2:

Jonah cares more about the plant than the people, and that's what God's trying to reveal to him. There's 120,000 people who don't have a relationship with me and you hear bitter and upset about this plant that I gave to you. He's trying to redirect him and then it just ends and Jonah doesn't get it. What do you think?

Speaker 1:

about it. I don't want to go too far into conjecture here, but it's so interesting that there's no neat bow on the story. It's not tied up, it just drops off and ends right there. Everything in the Bible is purposeful and written that way for a reason. Do you have any idea on why, or what does that say to you?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I conjecture, but I think it's just revealing who God is. We, thankfully, 2900 years beyond Jonah, can see the fullness of the story and see it develop, where Jonah I don't think can step out of the story himself, but we're seeing that God is the hero here, in spite of Jonah's desires, in spite of the sin and rebellion of the Ninevites. I think it's just revealing the greatness of God in the situation. I don't know. I think that's the account ends and it's supposed to focus on the grace of God. In spite of Jonah getting it, god's trying to redirect him, help him understand, have compassion on the people, and he can't. But ultimately we see who God is in the story a God of compassion, a bounding in love, who relents.

Speaker 1:

It's amazing and I want you to one more time you've referenced it a couple more times, but just to hammer it on because I think it's the most important thing just point out that pattern that we see three different times in this story, with three different, three very different kinds of people.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think you see the fishermen who are calling on God. So they're worshiping false gods. Lifestyle would not be in line with the Hebrew God. They see tragedy coming about and then they repent and come to faith in God.

Speaker 1:

We see Jonah and he has compassion and he has compassion on them.

Speaker 2:

Jonah has fully rebelled. Back then they would see your actions equalling what you get the result. And so they would say well, of course he rebelled, he deserves to be thrown into the water and die. But then we see Jonah repent, so he was deserving of punishment and consequence. And then he repents in the belly of the fish. And then we see the Assyrians, who've lived wicked lives, worshiped false gods, had rough worship practices, then they repent and the compassion of God is there. So I think it's like this threefold you see sin, punishment, god's grace, sin punishment, god's grace. And then repeat yeah.

Speaker 1:

So I mean that's the end of Jonah. Any other thoughts to wrap this thing up?

Speaker 2:

Right. So Jonah is the only one that Jesus likens himself to in the New Testament, matthew 12. And so that's kind of an interesting thing, right. And so I think again, this is a prefiguration of Jesus being in the belly of the fish for three days, jesus in the tomb for three days. Essentially, he talks about the people of that generation wanting a sign, and the only sign they'll get is Jonah, essentially, and so it's right before them. They want him to keep proving who he is, and he's saying that the cross will reveal. That's all you're going to get, basically, so, and the Ninevites will look at you guys and say you didn't repent in my day. They got it. You guys don't.

Speaker 1:

All I'm giving you is the cross, my death, my resurrection, and that's what we have now, and we have the hindsight to be able to look back and be very, very thankful for that.

Speaker 2:

Well said yeah.

Speaker 1:

All right With that, I think we're going to close this one out. We went through Jonah pretty good Good guy to learn from Accountants. I'm sorry, I love you, you're great at basketball and with that, let's just keep living our faith. Lives beyond Sunday.

God's Broken Heroes
Jonah's Resistance to God's Command
Transformation and Grace in Jonah's Heart
God's Compassion and Jonah's Anger
Patterns of Sin and Grace in Jonah