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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 37)

Again, no answer.  The Lord asked Jonah a question:  “Is it right for you to be angry?” (v. 4).  And he gave the Lord no answer.  Why not?  Well, it appears that Jonah had settled in for a show.  He had gone out and made himself comfortable at a place east of the city.

He made himself a shelter and, hope beyond hope, was waiting to see what would happen to the city.  He still had visions of destruction dancing in his head, wishing that God would again change His mind and bring the prophesied judgment to Nineveh.

We read that “he waited to see what would happen to the city.” (v. 5)  Why would Jonah expect God’s judgment to fall on repentant Nineveh?  ‘Cause he wanted that to happen!

We get things so mixed up, don’t we?  We ask for God’s mercy on those who don’t repent and want God’s judgment on those who do.  But God provides exactly what we need, as Jonah is soon to find out!  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 6, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 31)

The Ninevite king did not know that Jonah’s God, the real God, would forgive their sins and withhold His judgment.  But they repented anyway.  Biblical preaching involves both proclaiming God’s judgment and offering His forgiveness.  If the message preached is only forgiveness, listeners may simply yawn and think they have no repenting to do.  If the message preached is only judgment, they may fall into despair and conclude there is no hope.

Jonah needed to remember his compatriot Micah’s message in Micah 7:

18 Who is a God like you, who
    pardons sin and forgives the transgression
    of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
    but delight to show mercy.
19 You will again have compassion on us;
    you will tread our sins underfoot
    and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea.
20 You will be faithful to Jacob,
    and show love to Abraham,
as you pledged on oath to our ancestors
    in days long ago. (Micah 7)

Micah is speaking of forgiveness for God’s covenant people, but outsiders (like the Ninevites) are invited into God’s family as early as Genesis 12 where Abraham was promised that he would be a blessing “to all nations.”

God is not willing that any should perish, as we read in 2 Peter 3:9- “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (see also Mt. 18:14).  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 29)

The Ninevite revival was more than dust and sackcloth.  The king proclaimed to his people: “Let everyone call urgently on God.  Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.  Who knows?  God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” (vv. 8-9).

I find this challenge from the Ninevite king amazing!  He calls for a city-wide repentance marked by earnest prayers (to Jonah’s God) and behavioral change.

What is truly fascinating is that the king doesn’t know that Jonah’s God will forgive!  He says, “WHO KNOWS?  God may yet relent . . ..”  This seems to indicate that Jonah never mentioned the possibility of forgiveness, perhaps because he did not want the Ninevites forgiven.

Jonah’s orthodox statement in this chapter — “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown” — is what God wanted Jonah to say.  I wonder, however, if he said it with tears or with taunting?  With grief or with glee?  Judgment from a holy God is inevitable.  How does one prepare for that coming judgment?  Apparently Jonah had no interest in explaining to the Ninevites how God’s wrath could be averted.  (to be continued)

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Jonah — Belief Contradicted by Behavior! (Part 3)

As an historical person,  Jonah receives a clear, definitive call from the Lord to go on a short-term missions trip.  God’s message was straightforward:  “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

There is a world of difference between “preaching to” and “preaching against.”  Preaching to implies communication, perhaps discussion, maybe even rational conversation.  Preaching against suggests condemnation, judgment, delivering a verdict.  The one kind of preaching might produce friends; the other kind certainly suggests opposition.

God is thoroughly aware of man’s wickedness.  He pays attention to His creation.  He is grieved by man-made-in-His-image violating His standards.  To “preach against” Nineveh’s wickedness seems one step shy of full judgment and annihilation.  Although Jonah’s message was only a few words, the fact that God is talking to them instead of simply wiping them out suggests the possibility of escape from His holy wrath.

Where might we “preach against” our culture today?  How do we become “a friend of sinners” like Jesus was and yet communicate His wrath against man’s wickedness? (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Jonah

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord: Psalm 129

Psalm 129

A song of ascents.screen-shot-2016-12-15-at-6-55-19-am

“They have greatly oppressed me from my youth,”
    let Israel say;
“they have greatly oppressed me from my youth,
    but they have not gained the victory over me.
Plowmen have plowed my back
    and made their furrows long.
But the Lord is righteous;
    he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.”

May all who hate Zion
    be turned back in shame.
May they be like grass on the roof,
    which withers before it can grow;
a reaper cannot fill his hands with it,
    nor one who gathers fill his arms.
May those who pass by not say to them,
    “The blessing of the Lord be on you;
    we bless you in the name of the Lord.”

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in imprecatory Psalms

 

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Insight from a Blind Man (A Study of John 9) Part 26

To recap:  Jesus performs an incredible miracle for someone who knew next to nothing about Him.  Jesus seeks the man out after he has been excommunicated by the religious leaders and questions him about BELIEF.  Specifically, belief in the “Son of Man.”  The man born blind believes and worships.  An obvious example to all who read this story.  Do we allow for process when we are sharing “the Son of Man” with others?

Jesus knew that He would divide people into the believers and the non-believers.  He was not One about whom someone could respond, “Ummmm.  No opinion.”  He declares, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”  Interesting that we read in John 3, For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”  His mission is salvation.  For those who reject His salvation, judgment.

If we think of man as spiritually neutral, then judgment seems arbitrary.  However, if man is actively rebelling against the Creator of the universe, and the Son of God comes to rescue, what should happen to those who refuse to be rescued?  If the metaphor being used is that of a person drowning in the ocean, one could argue that a wise rescuer (lifeguard) would bonk a victim on the head and forcibly take them to shore if they fought the rescuer.

But we are far worse than an innocent drowning victim, aren’t we?  (to be continued)

 
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Posted by on April 27, 2017 in judgment

 

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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 119): Part 15

ס Samekh

113 I hate double-minded people,screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-6-14-04-am
    but I love your law.
114 You are my refuge and my shield;
    I have put my hope in your word.
115 Away from me, you evildoers,
    that I may keep the commands of my God!
116 Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live;
    do not let my hopes be dashed.
117 Uphold me, and I will be delivered;
    I will always have regard for your decrees.
118 You reject all who stray from your decrees,
    for their delusions come to nothing.
119 All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross;
    therefore I love your statutes.
120 My flesh trembles in fear of you;
    I stand in awe of your laws.

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2017 in religion

 

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