Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Was Jonah like the Pharisees?

I was thinking about the last few parables and Jonah came to mind.

God told him,

"Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." (Jonah 1:2)
The Lord wanted to bring their impending disaster to their mind and show them the error of their ways through his servant. Jonah was irritated that God would have compassion on the Ninevites. It is apparent that he understood this to be the purpose of his preaching when we read in chapter 4:

"But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity."
So what's the problem?
He didn't care for the Ninevites and he didn't think they deserved mercy. The Pharisees saw the "sinners" in the same way. They were worthless rubbish who deserved nothing of God's grace. May we never view any lost people in such a way.

On another note, here is one of my favorite verses from Jonah (2):
8 Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

17 Comments:

  • Yes, it is sad to read of Jonah's attitude.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/01/2006 11:43 AM  

  • Rose, your favorite verse scares me to death! :o) I cling to many worthless idols. I even make God in my own image. As Luther observed, we can't even get the first commandment right.

    By Blogger Earl, at 8/01/2006 12:31 PM  

  • "For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again."

    This helps motivate me to merciful.

    Another great post!

    By Blogger Kc, at 8/01/2006 12:42 PM  

  • Good post Rose,
    I agree Jonah was ready for the city to be destroyed.

    But I what I get out of this more than anything is God's grace toward Jonah by reasoning with him.
    The other thing that stands out to me is; if God wants a person to do something that person cannot even get someone to throw them into the sea to drown to avoid God's purpose for them. What grace, what amazing grace

    By Blogger Kris, at 8/01/2006 1:54 PM  

  • I'd like to offer a caveat.

    Jonah readilly admits that he didn't want to go because he *knew* what a kind and merciful God He was. Jonah knew his God all too well.

    He understood the grace of God. That is why he asked to be thrown in the ocean. Just because you wish evil on the lost does not mean you are not saved. The Assyrians would bury his fellow bretheren up to their necks and chop their heads off or leave them for dead. We all hope for vengence at times and wish ill even on brethren....but the Pharisees had convinced themselves that they were worthy of God's grace. They had blinded themselves. They had a deficient understanding of mercy.

    Even though we can act like Pharisees at times it doesn't mean we have the same understanding. King Solomon knew this as well.

    Jonah knew his God. The Pharisees did not. They convinced themselves of a God of their imaginations. There must be a change of heart and mind when one is saved to this truth. The sinner must be taught what grace and mercy is.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 8/01/2006 6:19 PM  

  • I find it interesting that Jesus referred to Jonah when he said the son of man would be in the earth for 3 days and nights.

    Just like Jonah, Jesus also came preaching.

    Does anyone see anything else here that is either prophetic or symbolic of either Jesus' ministry or the christian's life?

    By Blogger Jim, at 8/01/2006 6:30 PM  

  • Hey Rose,

    Another thing Jonah understood:

    "Salvation is of the Lord"

    Jim,

    Some believe Jonah was dead literally. Some feel he actually got saved in at the same time he was delivered from the fish. Then he was experiencing sanctification during those lessons with the vine.

    Some reasons:

    "I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet you have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God." Jonah 2:6

    The view is that he was literally a lost Pharisee prior to the voyage. There does seem to be evidence to support this as it did change his direction and bring about obediance in his life...yet it was raw and untrained obediance.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 8/01/2006 8:42 PM  

  • What a great and fitting parallel!

    By Blogger Antonio, at 8/01/2006 9:05 PM  

  • Brian,

    Thanks for those thoughts.

    Could it be that Jonah's whale experience was a kind of resurrection in which he preached to the Ninevites in the power of the Holy Spirit?

    He was nonetheless unhappy that they repented and told God this is what would happen.

    Such a small book leaves such profound truths and analogies for us.

    Yes, perhaps Jonah was a pharisee; placing judgement above mercy.

    By Blogger Jim, at 8/01/2006 11:10 PM  

  • Hi DF!
    I can always depend on you to brighten my day. We all have attitude problems at times, don't we?

    Earl,
    Let me tell you why I like the verse.
    Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
    It is because of the reverse of this. If one turns to the true God, there is grace awaiting! IOW, there is grace "that could be theirs" for all. (I saw the non-Calvinism in the verse and it lept out at me, refreshing my soul.) ;~)

    kc,
    Brother, thank you for reading. Another aspect of that verse (and if you turn it around a bit) you quote is also true: Those who have been shown much mercy should be the most merciful. Thanks for the encouragement.

    Hello Kris,
    Yes, I have seen that in the story of Jonah also. Some people are chosen by God for very specific ministry and God will "arrange" for that ministry to take place! I also appreciate our reasonable Lord. He is so reasonable with us knuckleheads.

    Brian,
    You are right - I did not mean to say that the two were alike in every way, no no. I have also heard the teaching that Jonah was dead literally. I think it could be - because Jesus said "just as Jonah was ... so shall the Son of Man be..." So, then, if Jesus was just as Jonah in those three days, then Jonah was dead?

    Matthew 12:40
    For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/02/2006 9:41 AM  

  • Jim,
    I have been thinking about your question - looking for other similarities - and I have been racking my brain. I need to re-read the book with that in mind. Thanks for your thoughtful comments!
    Do YOU see some other similarities?

    Antonio,
    Thanks for visiting and for the affirmation, my brother. God bless you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/02/2006 9:44 AM  

  • I am sure there are but at present could not make a good enough connection.

    By Blogger Jim, at 8/02/2006 10:54 AM  

  • Rose, I think there is definitely a parallel between Jonah and the Pharisees as well as many today.

    Good post.

    By Blogger Gordon Cloud, at 8/02/2006 11:38 AM  

  • Rose, still I tend to believe he was a believer prior because of the verse you posted. He knew that God was merciful and Gracious. He had a balanced understanding of his love and justice. There is no doubt. As to whether he was literally dead? That's a tough one isn't it. Remember that back then everyone went to Hades and there was a gulf seperating the soon to be righteous from the wicked.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at 8/02/2006 6:21 PM  

  • Rose, I will add one more comment that start a fire:

    Could those of us who compare Jonah to a pharisee because of his actions actually be acting like pharisee's to Jonah ourselves? Just a thought.

    By Blogger Kris, at 8/02/2006 6:24 PM  

  • Hi Gordon,
    Thanks for reading. He had a bad attitude, didn't he? We all do at times, but may he be an example of "the reluctant preacher" - an example not to follow. :~)

    Brian,
    No doubt - I have never thought that Jonah didn't know God - I just think his attitude was all wrong. of course, of course, we all have problems with our minds at times. He is a perfect example of how those who know God can and do delve into rebellion.

    As to the "dead" thing - in Jonah 2:2 he says:
    Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice.

    Sheol is the place of the dead, right? I do think this is the most probable view - that God brought him back from the dead to do the work he had laid out for him.

    Kris,
    You are the provacetuer, aren't you? ;~) I was not comparing him to the Pharisees based on his actions, but based on his attitude. I freely admit that I have problems with this too at times.

    We can learn from good and bad examples. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 8/03/2006 8:17 AM  

  • Rose~ and Brian, I also think he was literally dead.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at 8/03/2006 11:48 AM  

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