Sunday, December 17, 2023
Jonah – Jonah 4
I hope you are having a blessed Advent season. At my house, the lights are up, the tree is decorated, and the house is filled with the sound of Christmas music and the smell of Christmas cookies. It has been a wonderful season of reflecting on God’s love for the world and his saving work through Jesus.
We have seen this same theme of God’s love for the world in our Jonah series, which we will wrap up this week. In Jonah 1, God tells Jonah to get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Jonah gets up and goes—to Tarshish! Tarshish was in the complete opposite direction as Nineveh, and it makes sense why he would prefer to go there. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria, the largest and most violent empire of the day. The thought of preaching in those streets would have been enough to frighten even the bravest of prophets.
But still, we expect a prophet to obey. As understandable as Jonah’s behavior was, it wasn’t excusable. Sure enough, Jonah was not able to run away from the face of the Lord, and God sent a storm and a great fish to get him back on track. God was gracious and compassionate to Jonah despite his disobedience. He sovereignly brought Jonah to the Assyrians, and (shocking to Jonah and us alike) they repented of their evil ways!
In Jonah 4, we get a shocking twist to the story. It turns out that Jonah’s flight to Tarshish was not motivated by fear. Jonah had another reason not to want to go to Nineveh. In the last chapter of the book, we get insight into Jonah’s character. His heart was not in the right place, and (if we’re honest) too often we find ourselves with a similar attitude.
But we also catch a glimpse of the heart of God in Jonah 4. We cannot begin to fathom the depths of God’s grace and compassion toward the world, and this is a message we need at Christmas!
Join us this week as we wrap up this amazing book and remind ourselves of how much God loves the world. See you Sunday!
Service times are at 9:00 & 11:00. If you can’t make it in person, you can watch live at those times.