2024_04_24 Insight Post- Rusty Coram


This week’s reading- Jonah 1-4

Jonah’s story is very honest and reveals his character and values, as well as God’s. Jonah hates the Assyrians whose capital city was Nineveh. They were a brutal and evil nation and deserved God’s judgment, and Jonah was in complete agreement with God on that. What he did not agree with was something else he knew about God – that He had a heart of mercy for sinners who repented. Jonah had no such room in his heart. We live in a world that celebrates Jonah’s heart more than God’s. Condemnation and unforgiveness are easy. We do the math and decide someone has done too much to ever be accepted or restored. This is the essence of self-righteousness – where we claim to have a higher standard than God. If God, who is truly holy and perfect, can offer forgiveness to someone who repents, then we need to step back and rethink our attitude. The Bible is full of stories of people God forgave after they committed atrocious sins, and we also know modern-day stories of lives being transformed by God’s forgiveness. For example, John Newton, a former slave trader, found Christ and went on to write the well-known hymn Amazing Grace.

Like many of us, Jonah was so convinced of his own moral superiority that he dared to question God’s character. It is telling when Jonah confronts God, “So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”   Jonah 4:2–3 (NLT)

If God were not merciful to sinners you and I would be in a world of trouble because the Bible is clear that “all of us have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and deserve hell (Romans 6:23). Thank God He is full of grace and truth. If we hear the truth and humbly surrender to Him, God will forgive and accept us as His children. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne.

Unfailing love and truth walk before you as attendants.” Psalm 89:14 (NLT)

Jonah reminds us that it is easy to justify being condemning and judgmental from our own moral high ground. The problem is that our standard is far below God’s and needs to be recalibrated so we don’t find ourselves opposing the one we say we follow. “And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 (NLT)

Rusty Coram
Senior Pastor