I have been working through the book of Jonah lately, and been thinking a lot about how counter-intuitive grace is. Much is focused on the big fish swallowing Jonah, but the real focus is on how much of dunce and unpleasant Jonah was being.
God ends the book and His words to Jonah with, “ and should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120, 000 persons who do not their right hand from their left”(4:11). He leaves Jonah with those words, because Jonah spent the whole book running from God’s mercy. Why? He was afraid of God actually saving people! He states, “That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish, for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster”(Jonah 4:2).
Seems counter-intuitive for somebody who had been shown kindness, as he was a member of God’s family, and was spared after being thrown overboard in the raging sea with the gift of being in the belly of a big fish. So, how can somebody who expressed “ salvation belongs to the LORD!” and then a little bit later be ashamed of God’s kindness, or would like for Him to withhold it.
I would say because grace continues to revamp our outlook on life. Our default worldview is always justice, and karma, while God seeks to revamp our outlooks in the light of His gifts, and overall kindness towards us, and this world.
Some biblical scholars perceive that there might be an underlying message within the book of Jonah. This underlying message is that God desired Israel (the northern kingdom at the time),where Jonah was from and speaking to, to repent themselves.
This is interesting because when grace really does work within our hearts, we see that the only way we can stand before God is because He forgives our sin (Ps. 130:3-4). In light of this, we desire, along with God, for all to come to repentance, and are willing for Him to use us in whatever capacity to extend His kindness. But to participate in such we have to be in the habit of repentance, always in response and through God’s grace.
I see myself so much like Jonah, running from God’s presence, and embittered toward the world, but God wants to continue to open our eyes to what He is doing, and how His good news is healing the world, and we get to participants within it. How is God healing, and leading your heart by His grace?
VBS “Gotta Move” is coming up next week (7/15-7/19) each night from 5:30-8:30 PM. An excellent chance for children ages 3-11 to come and join us for fun, food, and learning about what it means to be a Christian and walk with God. Don’t forget to register on Sunday if you can and continue to spread the word!
We will also be celebrating VBS at the end of the week with a Pool and Pizza Party at the Hermann City Pool from 6-9PM on that Saturday (July 20). All kids and parents welcome, and an open invitation to everybody that is a part and connected with the family of Emmanuel. Should be lots of fun!
In celebrating our graduates, we will be having a carry-in meal after the Sunday Service on Aug. 11th. Come join us, and see what last year’s graduates will be up to in the upcoming year, and bring a dish of food.
Seedling, a new Wednesday ministry for kids, ages 3-9, will be starting on Aug. 21st, and continue on during the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays throughout the semester. We will be learning about who Jesus is, along with music, games, activities, and much more.
Overflow will be having a Lake Party out at the Ebkers on Saturday, August 17th. This is an opportunity for the incoming freshman, and their parents to be welcomed and get to the know the Overflow group and volunteers. More details to come.
JAM/Overflow will be starting back up on Wednesdays starting August 28. Calendar and more details to come.