Sunday, May 29, 2016

Jonah's Timeless Message

Jonah's Timeless Message
God will engage all creation to bring His people (Jonah, in this case) in line with His will. He will bring trials, peril, deliverance, mercy, comfort, and discomfort in order to draw His people closer to Him.

The book of Jonah is all about God working on His servant Jonah.

Application for today
So, what is God allowing/bringing into our lives to draw us closer to Him?

Do we even recognize God's sovereign hand in our own lives?

Can we truly say that God is in control of everything that happens to us and is working it for our good?

Is God confronting us with a hard heart? A rebellious attitude? A desire for our will instead of His?

Heb 12:4-11 expands on the timeless message of Jonah:
 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Discipline can be a punishment, but it can also be training. Anyone who has trained for an event, whether it is a race, a game, a dance, a spelling bee, or another competition, knows that they must deny themselves certain things and engage in other, perhaps not so enjoyable, things in order to be successful in the event.

Here is God, the greatest Father and Coach in the entire universe, designing specific trials and trainings for each of His unique children in order to mold them into the image of His Son, Jesus. We are dealt with as sons!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Jonah 4:9-11 (timeless)

Jonah 4:9-11
4:9 - Then God said to Jonah, “Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “I have good reason to be angry, even to death.”

When man refuses to learn the first time (v. 4:4), God brings the same lesson around again.
Man is shortsighted on the temporal and himself.

4:10 - Then the Lord said, “You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.

The Lord will point out man's shortcomings...

4:11 - Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?”

...and will entreat him to align his thoughts with God's thoughts.
Cod is compassionate not only on wicked people, but also animals.
God sees adults and children as different. (unless the phrase "do not know the difference between their right and left hand" refers to people who are ignorant of God and His statutes).

Paragraph Summary
Man is wrapped up with concern for his own comfort and does not care for others' comfort.
God is wrapped up with concern for others.

Chapter 4 Notes and Summary
Erroneous thinking: If you take comfort in material things, God will take it away. While God may choose to remove obstacles that get in the way of our relationship with Him, it is not automatic that God will remove material things that comfort us.

Chapter 4 boiled down to a sentence: Man is self-centered; God is compassionate.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Jonah 4:5-8 (timeless)

Jonah 4:5-8
4:5 - Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.

Even after God reveals His will, man can choose not to accept it.

4:6 - So the Lord God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.

God controls the plants to teach man.

4:7 - But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered.

God controls the creatures to instruct man and show him his hard heart.

4:8 - When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, “Death is better to me than life.”

God controls the elements to guide and enlighten man.
Man despairs when he is affected by the Hand of God's correction when he disagrees with God's plan.

Paragraph Summary
God appointed a plant, a worm, and a wind to further reveal Himself to man.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Jonah 4:1-4 (timeless)

Jonah 4:1-4
4:1 - But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.

God's work angers the self-centered and willful man.

4:2 - He prayed to the Lord and said, “Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.

The righteousness of God is not the righteousness of man.
Man can run, but God's will will still be done.
God is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.
Man responds to the above attributes with anger.
Man is vindictive; God is compassionate.
Man is cruel; God is gracious.
Man is quick to anger (Jonah immediately fled in 1:3); God is slow to anger.
Man is ruthless; God is abundant in lovingkindness.
Man calls for calamity (judgment); God relents concerning calamity.

4:3 - Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.”
When man cannot accept God's will, life if miserable!

4:4 - The Lord said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”

God loves rhetorical questions.

Paragraph Summary
Even though man knows about God, he still wants to follow (cling to) his own will and perception

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Jonah Chapter 3 with paragraph summaries (timeless)

Jonah 3:1-4
3:1-2 - Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.”

The Lord gives second chances.
God gives the man of God words to spark revival.

3:3 - So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk.

3:4 - Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”
Paragraph summary
God's will does not depend on man's obedience, but man will obey if it is God's will.

Jonah 3:5-9
3:5 - Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.
Repentance has actions demonstrated with it.

3:6 - When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.

3:7 - He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.

3:8 - But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.
Man knows his sin.

3:9 - Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”

When man obeys God, miracles can happen.

Paragraph Summary
God uses those in authority to carry out His will. Prov. 21:1 - The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Jonah 3:10 and paragraph summary
3:10 - When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

God knows what effect His message will have.
God responds to repentant people.

Chapter 3 boiled down to a sentence: God takes the smallest amounts of obedience on man's part and turns it into a huge abundance of glory for Himself.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Jonah Chapter 2 with paragraph summaries (timeless)

Jonah 2:1 and paragraph summary
2:1 - Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish
Man turns to God when all hope is finally lost.
Man prays.

Jonah 2:2-9
2:2 - and he said,
“I called out of my distress to the Lord,
And He answered me.
I cried for help from the depth of Sheol;
You heard my voice.
God answers prayer.
God hears our prayer.

2:3 - “For You had cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers and billows passed over me.

God is recognized as orchestrating events by man.
God controls the seas.

2:4 - “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight.
Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’

Man declares his faithfulness with a hard heart!

2:5 - “Water encompassed me to the point of death.
The great deep engulfed me,
Weeds were wrapped around my head.

Only God saves

2:6 - “I descended to the roots of the mountains.
The earth with its bars was around me forever,
But You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.

Salvation is from the Lord

2:7 - “While I was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
And my prayer came to You,
Into Your holy temple.

God hears our prayers regardless of where we are.
2:8 - “Those who regard vain idols
Forsake their faithfulness,

If man worships idols, he forsakes any help from the only God that can help.

2:9 - But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving.
That which I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation is from the Lord.”

Man can be committed to his duty to the Lord.
Salvation is from the Lord.

Paragraph Summary
Man submits to God to alleviate God's hand of discipline.

Jonah 2:10 and paragraph summary
2:10 - Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

God commands the creatures.

Chapter 2 boiled down to a sentence: All things on the earth submit to the will of God.
Note: Jonah prays from the Psalms, God's timeless word!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Jonah 1:15-16,17 and Paragraph Summaries (timeless)

Jonah 1:15-16
1:15 - So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.
The discipline/tribulation from God lifts with obedience.
Man acts in faith; God responds.

1:16 - Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
Man's reaction to seeing the hand of the Lord first hand.

Paragraph summary
By faith, the men obey, and as a result, God rewards with salvation.

Jonah 1:17 and Paragraph Summary
1:17 - And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.
God controls nature.
God works miracles in preserving man.

Chapter 1 boiled down to a sentence: God orchestrates events to accomplish His will, which is always good! The best, even! God's hand will always move us from self focused to God focused, which is to draw us closer to Him, which is for our best.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Jonah 1:10-14 (timeless)

Jonah 1:10-14
1:10 - Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, "How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
Man shows no concern for the collateral damage his fleeing from God may cause.
Man can be uncaring and hard hearted.

1:11 - So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?”—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy.
God increases the pressure upon men so that His will is done.
1:12 - He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.”
Man knows his sin.
Man acknowledges his guilt, if God grants him.

1:13 - However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them.
Man fights against the direction from the Lord.
God increases the discipline/tribulation to turn man to His will.
Man cannot win in a battle with the Lord.

1:14 -  Then they called on the Lord and said, “We earnestly pray, O Lord, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O Lord, have done as You have pleased.”
Man knows right from wrong and appeals to the Judge of the earth for clemency.
The Lord does as He pleases.
Man knows the penalty (death) for the taking of a life.

Paragraph summary
In the battle between man and God, God always wins and has His way.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Jonah 1:7-9 (timeless)

Jonah 1:7-9
1:7 -  Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
God controls the lot.

1:8 - Then they said to him, “Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
God uses many men to confront man.

1:9 - He said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”
God is the Lord God of heaven.
God created the sea and dry land.
The truth will eventually be known.

Paragraph summary
God controls the lot.
God brings out the truth of the matter.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Jonah 1:4-6 (timeless)

Jonah 1:4-6
1:4 -  The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.
God commands the wind and the elements.
God has precise control that is demonstrated by the ship staying afloat.

1:5 - Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.
Man cries out to his imagined/made up gods, but they don't answer.
Man goes to great lengths to save himself from the hand of God.
Man can have a kind of peace in the midst of sin.

1:6 - So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”
God uses man to confront man.

Paragraph summary
Man calls on many gods, but only the Lord controls the elements.