This Sunday I am going to begin preaching through the book of Jonah. If you have been in the church for very long you know the basic story. The prophet Jonah runs from God and gets swallowed by a large fish. Eventually, reluctantly, Jonah preaches (the shortest sermon in world history) to the wicked city of Nineveh and they repent. You already knew that, right? I want to suggest to you that there is much more to this prophetic book then first meets the eye. If you will read Jonah with an open heart and mind I believe it both challenge and inspire you on a deep level. Here are just a few of the themes we will discuss in this book:
- The sovereignty of God. Even the sea, and the creatures of the sea, are under the control of God.
- The grace and mercy of God. The ironic part is that these characteristics of God are what infuriates Jonah!
- The mission of God in the world. Israel has been commanded to be a light to the nations but they were more concerned about their prosperity than they were the world around them.
- You will have to deal with some tough questions. For example, are we more like Jonah or Jesus?
- How an attitude of nationalism can keep us from caring about others. Just for kicks look up the word “jingoistic” and then ask yourself if you see this as a problem when it comes to fulfilling the Great Commission.
- There are tremendous similarities between Jonah and the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son.
- We must deal with the fact that we all have the tendency to love our comfortable lives more than we love other people.
- The gospel is clearly being pointed to throughout the book of Jonah.
- The book is, start to finish, a love story. The love of God for his lost sons and daughters.
- A wonderfully inspiring theme is REVIVAL. The entire city of Nineveh repents and turns to the Lord. Will you join me in praying for revival here in Watertown, South Dakota? In your hometown?
My plan is to blog through each chapter, but today I just wanted to share this EXCELLENT video that details the overall story-line of the book of Jonah. The video was produced by the creative people at The Bible Project.