A Fishy Story

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For the past couple of weeks I have been preaching on one of my favourite books of the Old Testament; Jonah.

Perhaps it’s the fisherman in me that loves the idea of a big fish, or the rebel in me that enjoys the idea of running in the opposite direction to the one being asked to go in!

But, I confess, it’s neither of these.

I was reading that In Jewish synagogues on the day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, a passage from the story of Jonah is read, and the whole congregation responds with the words “We are Jonah.”

You see, this book is also about us; sometimes the story of Jonah is just like looking into a mirror and sometimes, I don’t always like what I see!

There are times when all of us can be disobedient to God

– there is Jonah,

There are times when all of us are insensitive to others

– there is Jonah,

There are times when all of us are dissatisfied with the way God has worked,

– there is Jonah,

There are times when all of us are selfish.

– there is Jonah,

But, what makes the story so powerful to me is that we also see the compassion of God.  You see, when I look into the mirror of Jonah, I see the compassion of God reaching out to me despite the fact that “I am Jonah”.  The Psalmist says this;

The LORD is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.

Ps 116:5

It’s in God nature to be compassionate, not a little compassionate but full of compassion.  And this story is about how the compassion of God works to bring about a transformation in the heart and life of one of His people and then in the city of Nineveh.

But, there is another uncomfortable moment.  The story finishes on a rather challenging note when God says;

“But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

(Jonah 4 vs. 11)

And we are left with a question, do we share God’s concern for those who do not know Him?  What are we doing to share His message with those around us?

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