God’s Presence: Jonah (9.15am)

 
Rev. Dave Middlebrook

17th September, 2017 ()

Bible Text: Jonah 4:1-11; Matthew 28:16-20 |

The books of Jonah is often seen as a 'good Bible story for children', but it is far more than 'just' that. The story of Rebellion in Jonah 1, where Jonah fails to follow God's plan, through Repentance in Jonah 2, when Jonah is in the belly of the fish, to Revival in Jonah 3, where the people of Nineveh turn to God, would be a good place to finish. All's well that ends well, and Jonah has done what God has wanted, and 120,000 repent and turn to God.

But then we have Jonah 4 where Jonah is very upset with God. This chapter reveals Jonah's heart as being selfish and petty, and God's heart as being loving, gracious and compassionate. How often are we upset with God because he doesn't do what we want Him to do? How often do we feel there are bad, evil, unsuitable, immoral people that surely God can't love? God challenges Jonah and challenges us, and God finishes the book of Jonah with a question 'should I not be concerned about the great city? (i.e. all people)', and of course the implied answer is yes!

God is with Jonah whether he's going God's way, or His own way. God is with Jonah whether he's in the belly of a fish, or preaching in Nineveh. Matthew 28 reminds us also that God is with us 'where-ever we go'. But that also means that God is with those who don't know Him, don't recognise Him, haven't heard about Him, and God asks us to show the same concern as he does for these folk, some of whom we find very difficult indeed.

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