Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jonah Chapter 1 Notes and Summary (timely)

Chapter 1 Notes and Summary
God moves the pressure to conform to His will from the general (the storm) to the specific (Jonah as the cause of the storm) to the pinpoint (isolation) (only Jonah gets put into the crucible of the fish).

God also uses humans to bring the pressure to repent, starting with the captain's (one) call to prayer and following with the sailors' (many) confrontation in v.8 and intense confrontation in v.10 "HOW COULD YOU DO THIS???", which should be taken in its proper context of imminent, intense danger in which the sailors are in fear for their very lives. A direct, personal, in your face confrontation produces no repentance from Jonah.

We all know of believers that have been through this sequence of God's discipline; perhaps we recognize it in our own lives. What are we holding onto right now that God is prying our fingers off of by bringing His loving hand of discipline into our lives? How long will we "kick against the goads", as Paul recounts his own struggle against God in Acts 26:14.

A final comment from this chapter on the stubbornness of Jonah: it stems from the fact that he would rather die (with the sailors in a sunken ship or by himself if thrown overboard) than do the will of God. I think we often underestimate God's tenacity in disciplining us to do His will.

Wayward believers may think of 1 John's "sin leading to death" (1 John 5:16-17) and take comfort in the fact that eventually God will give up and kill them. God will exhaust every single tool at His disposal to bring back His running sheep, and remember, God always uses His tools like a master craftsman - with precision, accuracy, and wisdom. No, God will take a long time engaging His son in discipline to finally allow a sinning believer the comfort of death.

Chapter 1 boiled down to a sentence: God's will always triumphs over man's will.

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