Jonah seems to be more trouble than he is worth. Nineveh was dangerous, but in the story of Jonah the Ninevites don’t seem to be the problem. They understand the message and quickly repent. Jonah, the missionary, seems to be the weak link in this mission story.
In this account, God pursues a reluctant prophet because He knows that Jonah needed the missionary trip to Nineveh as much as the Ninevites needed to hear the missionary’s message.
Read the book of Jude. How can we “keep [our]selves in the love of God” (Jude 21)? What does that mean?
In his short book in the New Testament, Jude tells us in Jude 21 to “keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (NIV).
Experiencing God’s love and grace personally is not a one-time event. One sure way to “keep yourselves in God’s love” is to reach out to others. In the next verses Jude tells us to “be merciful,” and “save” others by “snatching them from the fire” (NIV).
Read Jude 20-23. What is it saying here that relates to the story of Jonah, and what does this say to us, as well?
God called Jonah to go to Nineveh because Jonah probably hadn’t spent much time thinking about his relationship to the Assyrians before this particular call. He probably knew that he didn’t like them, but he had no idea of how much he hated them or the extremes he would go through in order to avoid them, even after he got the call. Jonah wasn’t ready to have a Ninevite as a next-door neighbor in heaven. Jonah hadn’t learned to love as God loves. God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh because God loves the Ninevites and wants them in His kingdom. But God also calls Jonah because God loves Jonah. He wants Jonah to grow and become more like Him as they work together. God wants Jonah to find the true rest that comes only by being in a saving relationship with Him and by doing God’s will, which includes reaching out to others and pointing them to the faith and hope that we have.
|How much time do you spend working for the salvation of others? In a spiritual sense, how does this kind of work lead us to find true rest in Jesus?|