Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Friday, 5 April 2013

God of circumstances (Jonah 1)

It is clear from the chapter that God is in complete control of the situation. The details that show this are obvious: for example, the availability of the boat, the coming of the storm, the sudden demise of the wind, the appearance of the great fish. Although Jonah had been disobedient to God’s revealed will, all these details are included in God’s secret will for Jonah. Under God’s control were Jonah’s disobedience, the plans of the sailors, and the aspects of nature both inanimate and animate.

There is comfort here for us as we consider the experience of Jonah. God was prepared to take whatever steps were required in order for his wayward servant to be restored. This is true for us as well. If we are beginning to backslide today, God is not ignoring it. Instead he will be already working through providence to bring us to restoration. God’s commitment to his people is not changed by their failures.

Yet there is also cause for concern as well because Jonah did not know what degree or form of divine chastisement it would take for him to be restored. In his case, it would involve being cast into the sea and spending time in the belly of a great fish. 

Further, the backsliding of believers will bring consternation into the lives of other people. In Jonah’s case, his rebellion brought trouble for the sailors. Surely the possibility of others being affected adversely in providence because of our sins should keep us from backsliding.

Yet we should note that God’s response to Jonah’s backsliding led to the conversion of the sailors. They discovered through contact with Jonah that his God was the creator of the land and sea, that he was the controller of the elements, that he was in charge of their casting of lots. As they saw the severity of the way the Lord dealt with his erring servant, they ‘feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows’. God was working at different levels simultaneously. His path of restoration for his servant was also the crossroads in the lives of the sailors because they came in contact with the true God.

No comments:

Post a Comment