1969.) Jonah 4

November 17, 2016

Jonah at Ninevah — Ulrich Leive

Jonah 4   (NLT)

Pout, Jonah, Pout!

1 This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. 2 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. 3Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”

Jonathan Swift wrote some verse that expresses Jonah’s frame of mind! —

We are God’s chosen few,

All others will be damned;

There is no place in heaven for you,

We can’t have heaven crammed.

4 The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”

God likes to ask us questions, because they reveal our heart. It also put us on proper ground before God, because He has every right to question us and we owe Him answers.

  • Where are you? Who told you that you were naked? What is this you have done? (Genesis 3)
  • Where is your brother Abel? What have you done? (Genesis 4)
  • What have you done? (1 Samuel 13:11)
  • Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? (2 Samuel 12)
  • Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? (Isaiah 6)
  • Who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16)
  • What do you want Me to do for you? (Matthew 20)
  • Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? (Luke 22)
  • Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? (Acts 9)

–David Guzik

_________________________

EVALUATE YOUR ANGER

Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this inquiry, “Do you do well to be angry?” It may be that we can answer, “Yes.” Very frequently anger is the madman’s firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah’s fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong that it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil that they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “O you who love the LORD, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10).

Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, “No.” Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honorable to our Christian profession or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature?

Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Someone told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. “Yes,” he said, “but the fruit will not be crabs.”

We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon/updated by Alistair Begg

5 Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

7 But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. 8 And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.

Jonah faces God’s freedom — Henri Lindegaard, 2003.

9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people who cannot tell right from left—or right from wrong— not to mention all the animals. Isn’t it right for me to have pity for such a great city?”

“More helpful than all wisdom is one draught of simple pity that will not forsake us.”

–George Eliot (1819-1880)

_________________________


Matthew 12:38-41   (ESV)

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Wonderful, Merciful Savior”  by Selah.  This is one of those songs that always brings tears to my eyes — that the Lord would be so wonderful, and so merciful, to us!

_________________________

Oh, most wonderful, merciful God!

We pray that you would make us like the Ninevites,
that when we hear your message of conviction,
we would repent of our evil ways,
and confess our sins, and turn to you.

For you are a God who is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and filled with unfailing love.

We pray that you would make us like the sailors,
that when we see your mighty deeds,
we would worship you and praise you
and renew our commitment to serve you.
For you are the Lord, the God of heaven,
who made the sea and the dry land.

We pray that you would make us like Jonah the second time,
that when we hear your call,
we will obey immediately and faithfully,
willing to go and proclaim the glory of your name,
eager to see your grace working even through us.
For you are the God with power to save;
salvation comes from you alone.

We pray these things in the name of the One who is greater than Jonah, the One whose name is high and lifted up, above every other name, even Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

_________________________

The Journey with Jonah is one of my favorite books! Written by Madeleine L’Engle (who won the Newberry Award in 1963 for A Wrinkle in Time–another one of my favorite books!), this delightful retelling of the Jonah story is actually a play. Jonah is the only human, and he is accompanied by many animals who engage the crabby prophet in conversation about his choices. L’Engle’s amusing characters and their insightful thoughts make this wonderful story of Jonah even more engaging!

It is also a treat to actually produce! When I lived in South Korea I directed it for our congregation. Costumes were so much simple fun:  The rat family came with little ears glued on headbands and long tails.  The whale wore a gray Members Only leather jacket. The blue jay was loaded down with costume jewelry. You get the idea.  So now–do yourself a favor and find the book for your own enjoyment!

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Leive.    http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/4%20Mercy_Misericorde/20%20LEIVE%20JONA%20AT%20NINIVE%20KS%20G.jpg
angry man.    http://www.veteranstoday.com/story_images/anger_stockxpertcom_id917161_size011.jpg
Lindegaard.     http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/4%20Mercy_Misericorde/20%20LINDEGAARD%20JONAS%20DD%20DEVANT%20LA%20LIBERTE%20DE%20D.jpg
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1968.) Jonah 3

November 16, 2016

The Finger Raised — Henri Lindegaard, 2003

Jonah 3   (NLT)

Preach, Jonah, Preach!

1 Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 2“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”

“Play it again, Sam” is a misquotation from the 1942 movie Casablanca.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

A SECOND TIME

Jonah didn’t like the assignment God gave him. God directed him to leave his homeland and go to the enemy city of Nineveh, a hostile and evil center of idol worship. There Jonah was to warn the people of God’s impending judgment and urge them to repent. The Hebrews hated the people of Nineveh, so the rebellious prophet fled in the opposite direction, hoping for a different word from God that was more to his liking. Instead, God was determined that his word to Jonah would be obeyed. He spoke to Jonah again. His second message was the same as the first. However, during the interval, Jonah had been buffeted by storms and had traveled in the stomach of a fish for three days. This time, he was prepared to hear God again and do his bidding.

God also spoke to the prophet Jeremiah two times (Jer. 33:1-3). But Jeremiah accepted God’s word to him the first time. The second time God spoke to him was to give him a fuller revelation of what He had first told him.

What God says to us next will depend on how we responded to His previous word to us. If, like Jonah, we disobeyed His earlier instructions, God will give them a second time. If we obeyed His first directive, as Jeremiah did, He will give us a fresh and deeper expression of His will (Matt. 25:23). Do not let the Lord have to wait for your obedience.

3 This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all.

Ancient historians say that Nineveh was the largest city in the world at that time.

4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.

6 When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. 7 Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:

“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. 8 People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. 9 Who can tell? Perhaps God will have pity on us even yet, and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”

“He who would have others pity him must pity others.”

~Yiddish proverb

_________________________

Music:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
miserere nobis.

have mercy upon us.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
miserere nobis.

have mercy upon us.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
dona nobis pacem.

grant us peace.

HERE  is “Agnus Dei” by Samuel Barber and the Choir of New College, Oxford. In view of Jonah’s reluctant and begrudging obedience, I encourage you to take 8 minutes right now out of your day to contemplate with thanksgiving God’s great love and mercy for you, and to pray for the salvation of all the world.

_________________________

10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he had mercy on them concerning the destruction he had threatened to bring upon them.  And he did not do it.

jonah3-slow-to-anger

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Lindegaard.     http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/3%20Obedience_Obeissance/20%20LINDEGAARD%20JONAS%20BB%20LE%20DOIGT%20LEVE.jpg
“Play it again.”    http://thejarboes.com/play%20it%20again%20sam.jpg
Psalm 145:8.   https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/92/97/1e/92971ea195164e4d1dd5afd74bf28bf4.jpg

1967.) Jonah 2

November 15, 2016

Jonah in the whale — Frank Wesley

Jonah 2   (NLT)

Pray, Jonah, Pray!

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish.

God could have rescued Jonah in any number of ways. He chose this specific way because of the effect it would have on Jonah’s heart. The book of Jonah shows us important principles about the sovereignty of God. What happens when God wants a person to do something, but the person doesn’t want to do it? Jonah shows us that God has a way of bringing us to the place where we want what He wants.

–David Guzik

Dear Lord, Please let me never be so disobedient to you that you have to put me in the belly of a great fish before I will obey you!

2He said,

“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,
and he answered me.
I called to you from the land of the dead,
and Lord, you heard me!

Jonah knew the Word of God by heart! See how he quotes from the Psalms:

Psalm 18:6 (NIV)

In my distress I called to the LORD;
   I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
   my cry came before him, into his ears.

3 You threw me into the ocean depths,
and I sank down to the heart of the sea.
The mighty waters engulfed me;
I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.
4 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence.
Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’

Open my eyes, Lord, to see you beside me in every circumstance.

5 “I sank beneath the waves,
and the waters closed over me.

Psalm 42:7 (NIV)

All your waves and breakers
   have swept over me.

Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
I was imprisoned in the earth,
whose gates lock shut forever.
But you, O Lord my God,
snatched me from the jaws of death!

Thank you, Lord, for all the times you have saved me from my own poor choices!

7 As my life was slipping away,
I remembered the Lord.
And my earnest prayer went out to you
in your holy Temple.

Psalm 31:22 (NIV)

In my alarm I said,
   “I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
   when I called to you for help.

8 Those who worship false gods
turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
and I will fulfill all my vows.
For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

Yes, Lord! Forever and ever and ever I will say, Yes, Lord!

10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.

Jonah — Philip Ratner (Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum, Bethesda, MD)

_________________________

In the stomach of the fish — Henri Lindegaard, 2003.

from Peculiar Treasures,
by Frederick Buechner

WHALE

If it was actually a whale that swallowed Jonah on his voyage to Tarshish, it couldn’t have been the kind of Right Whale you find in these waters because their gullets aren’t big enough. Maybe it was a sperm whale because they can handle something the size of a prophet without batting an eye. Or maybe, since the Hebrew word means only “great fish,” it wasn’t a whale at all but a man-eating shark, some of whom attain lengths as great as thirty feet. But whatever it was, this much is certain.

No matter how deep it dove and no matter how dark the inside of its belly, no depth or darkness was enough to drown out the sound of Jonah’s prayer. “I am cast out from thy presence. How shall I again look upon thy holy temple?” the intractable and water-logged old man called out from sixty fathoms, and Yahweh heard him, and answered him, and Jonah’s great relief at being delivered from the whale can hardly have been any greater than the whale’s at being delivered from Jonah.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Love Lifted Me.”  Randy Travis and Mac Powell.

  1. I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
    Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
    But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
    From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
    Refrain:

    Love lifted me!
      Love lifted me!
    When nothing else could help,
    Love lifted me!
  2. All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling,
    In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
    Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
    Faithful, loving service, too, to Him belongs.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Wesley.    http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/Misc/Wesley/jonah5.gif
Ratner.    http://www.ratnermuseum.com/includes/images/photos/heroes/hero_13.jpg
Lindegaard.     http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/2%20Delivered_Delivrance/20%20LINDEGAARD%20JONAS%2014%20DANS%20LE%20VENTRE%20DU%20POISSON.jpg

1966. Jonah 1

November 14, 2016

“Jonah and the Whale” by He Qi

Jonah 1   (NLT)

Run, Jonah, Run!

Jonah was from the village of Gath Hepher which was located on a small hill about three miles northeast of Nazareth. He was a Galilean prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel. Prior to the ministry of Jonah, Israel was in a weakened condition. Its borders were shrinking as it lost its outlying territories to powerful enemies. The nation was forced to pay high tribute to the king of Assyria. In 2 Kings 14:26 it is said of this time, “Everyone in Israel, whether slave or free, was suffering.”

Since we have just been reading about the Assyrian interaction with the southern kingdom of Judah, I thought we would slip in this wonderful story of God and his love for all the world, even for the people, like the Ninevites, who look like enemies.

1 The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”

Only 500 miles to the east of Jonah was Ninevah, the capital city of the Assyrian Empire. The gate above is a reconstruction of one of the 15 gates of the ancient city — now in Mosul, Iraq. I am not sure what condition this gate may be in at this time.

3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.

jonah1-map

Some 2000 miles west of Israel and Judah, Tarshish was famed as the westernmost port of the Mediterranean. It was about as far away as one could get! The city was also known for its mines of gold and silver.

.

Why didn’t Jonah want to go to Nineveh and do what the Lord told him to do?

 It may have been because he was given a difficult job to do. Nahum 3:1-4 gives us a good idea of how wicked the people of Nineveh were. Jonah had every reason to expect that at the very best, he would be mocked and treated as a fool. He might be attacked and killed if he did what the Lord told him to do.

 It was also because Jonah didn’t want the Assyrians in Nineveh to escape God’s judgment. Imagine a Jewish man in New York during World War II hearing God say, ‘I’m going to bring terrible judgment on Germany. I want you to go to Berlin and tell Nazi Germany to repent.’ Instead of doing it, the man heads for San Francisco and then hops on a boat for Hong Kong.

–David Guzik

.

Psalm 139:7-10 (NIV)

Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.

4 But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. 5 Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.

But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6 So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe your god will have pity on us and spare our lives.”

“Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.”

~William Blake (1757-1827)

7 Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. 8 “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”

9 Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”  Then he told them he was running away from the Lord.

10 The sailors were terrified when they heard this. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. 11 And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”

12 “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”

13 Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”

15 Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea,

Overboard — by Henri Lindegaard, 2003

and the storm stopped at once! 16 The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.

17 Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.

_________________________

Music:

HERE  is “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” also known as “The Navy Hymn.”

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power,
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
Thus evermore shall rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

Oh, guard and guide the men who fly
Through the great spaces of the sky.
Be with them traversing the air,
In darkening storms or sunlight fair;
Oh, hear us when we lift our prayer
For those in peril in the air.

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
He Qi.    http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/1_Refusal_Refus/21%20HE%20QI%20%20JONAH%20&%20THE%20WHALE.jpg
Ninevah.    http://cache2.allpostersimages.com/p/LRG/27/2796/4S7OD00Z/posters/sweeney-jane-walls-and-gates-of-the-ancient-city-of-nineveh-now-mosul-al-mawsil-al-mawsil-ninawa-iraq.jpg
map showing Tarshish.    https://thelonghaulwithisaiah.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/6-jonah-6.jpg?w=1600&h=1200
Lindegaard.     http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/1_Refusal_Refus/20%20LINDEGAARD%20L%20JONAS%2012%20PAR%20DESSUS%20BORD.jpg

586.) Jonah 4

August 1, 2011

Jonah at Ninevah -- Ulrich Leive

Jonah 4   (New Living Translation)

Pout, Jonah, Pout!

1 This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. 2 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. 3Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”

Jonathan Swift wrote some verse that expresses Jonah’s frame of mind:

We are God’s chosen few,

All others will be damned;

There is no place in heaven for you,

We can’t have heaven crammed.

4 The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”

God likes to ask us questions, because they reveal our heart. It also put us on proper ground before God, because He has every right to question us and we owe Him answers.

  • Where are you? Who told you that you were naked? What is this you have done? (Genesis 3)
  • Where is your brother Abel? What have you done? (Genesis 4)
  • What have you done? (1 Samuel 13:11)
  • Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? (2 Samuel 12)
  • Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? (Isaiah 6)
  • Who do you say that I am? (Matthew 16)
  • What do you want Me to do for you? (Matthew 20)
  • Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss? (Luke 22)
  • Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? (Acts 9)

–David Guzik

_________________________

EVALUATE YOUR ANGER

Anger is not always or necessarily sinful, but it has such a tendency to run wild that whenever it displays itself, we should be quick to question its character, with this inquiry, “Do you do well to be angry?” It may be that we can answer, “Yes.” Very frequently anger is the madman’s firebrand, but sometimes it is Elijah’s fire from heaven. We do well when we are angry with sin, because of the wrong that it commits against our good and gracious God; or with ourselves because we remain so foolish after so much divine instruction; or with others when the sole cause of anger is the evil that they do. He who is not angry at transgression becomes a partaker in it. Sin is a loathsome and hateful thing, and no renewed heart can patiently endure it. God himself is angry with the wicked every day, and it is written in His Word, “O you who love the LORD, hate evil” (Psalm 97:10).

Far more frequently it is to be feared that our anger is not commendable or even justifiable, and then we must answer, “No.” Why should we be fretful with children, passionate with servants, and wrathful with companions? Is such anger honorable to our Christian profession or glorifying to God? Is it not the old evil heart seeking to gain dominion, and should we not resist it with all the might of our newborn nature?

Many professors give way to temper as though it were useless to attempt resistance; but let the believer remember that he must be a conqueror in every point, or else he cannot be crowned. If we cannot control our tempers, what has grace done for us? Someone told Mr. Jay that grace was often grafted on a crab-stump. “Yes,” he said, “but the fruit will not be crabs.”

We must not make natural infirmity an excuse for sin, but we must fly to the cross and pray the Lord to crucify our tempers, and renew us in gentleness and meekness after His own image.

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon/updated by Alistair Begg

_________________________

5 Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

7 But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. 8 And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.

Jonah faces God's freedom -- Henri Lindegaard, 2003.

9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

10 Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. 11 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people who cannot tell right from left—or right from wrong— not to mention all the animals. Isn’t it right for me to have pity for such a great city?”

“More helpful than all wisdom is one draught of simple  pity that will not forsake us.”

–George Eliot (1819-1880)

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Matthew 12:38-41   (English Standard Version)

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

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Music:

“Wonderful, Merciful Savior”  by Selah.  This is one of those songs that always brings tears to my eyes — that the Lord would be so wonderful, and so merciful, to us!

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Oh, most wonderful, merciful God!

We pray that you would make us like the Ninevites,
that when we hear your message of conviction,
we would repent of our evil ways,
and confess our sins, and turn to you.

For you are a God who is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and filled with unfailing love.

We pray that you would make us like the sailors,
that when we see your mighty deeds,
we would worship you and praise you
and renew our commitment to serve you.
For you are the Lord, the God of heaven,
who made the sea and the dry land.

We pray that you would make us like Jonah the second time,
that when we hear your call,
we will obey immediately and faithfully,
willing to go and proclaim the glory of your name,
eager to see your grace working even through us.
For you are the God with power to save;
salvation comes from you alone.

We pray these things in the name of the One who is greater than Jonah, the One whose name is high and lifted up, above every other name, even Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.

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The Journey with Jonah is one of my favorite books!  Written by Madeleine L’Engle (who won the Newberry Award in 1963 for A Wrinkle in Time — another one of my favorite books!), this delightful retelling of the Jonah story is actually a play.  Jonah is the only human, and he is accompanied by many animals who engage the crabby prophet in conversation about his choices.   L’Engle’s amusing characters and their insightful thoughts make this wonderful story of Jonah even more engaging!

It is also a treat to actually produce!  When I lived in South Korea I directed it for our congregation.  Costumes were so much simple fun:  The rat family came with little ears glued on headbands and long tails.  The whale wore a gray Members Only leather jacket.  The blue jay was loaded down with costume jewelry.  You get the idea.  So now — do yourself a favor and find the book for your own enjoyment!

_________________________

New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Leive.    http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/4%20Mercy_Misericorde/20%20LEIVE%20JONA%20AT%20NINIVE%20KS%20G.jpg
angry man.    http://www.veteranstoday.com/story_images/anger_stockxpertcom_id917161_size011.jpg
Lindegaard.     http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/4%20Mercy_Misericorde/20%20LINDEGAARD%20JONAS%20DD%20DEVANT%20LA%20LIBERTE%20DE%20D.jpg

585.) Jonah 3

July 29, 2011

The Finger Raised -- Henri Lindegaard, 2003

Jonah 3   (New Living Translation)

Preach, Jonah, Preach!

1 Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: 2“Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”

"Play it again, Sam" is a misquotation from the 1942 movie Casablanca.

from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby

A SECOND TIME

Jonah didn’t like the assignment God gave him.  God directed him to leave his homeland and go to the enemy city of Nineveh, a hostile and evil center of idol worship.  There Jonah was to warn the people of God’s impending judgment and urge them to repent.  The Hebrews hated the people of Nineveh, so the rebellious prophet fled in the opposite direction, hoping for a different word from God that was more to his liking.  Instead, God was determined that his word to Jonah would be obeyed.  He spoke to Jonah again.  His second message was the same as the first.  However, during the interval, Jonah had been buffeted by storms and had traveled in the stomach of a fish for three days.  This time, he was prepared to hear God again and do his bidding.

God also spoke to the prophet Jeremiah two times (Jer. 33:1-3).  But Jeremiah accepted God’s word to him the first time.  The second time God spoke to him was to give him a fuller revelation of what He had first told him.

What God says to us next will depend on how we responded to His previous word to us.  If, like Jonah, we disobeyed His earlier instructions, God will give them a second time.  If we obeyed His first directive, as Jeremiah did, He will give us a fresh and deeper expression of His will (Matt. 25:23).  Do not let the Lord have to wait for your obedience.

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3 This time Jonah obeyed the Lord’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all.

Ancient historians say that Nineveh was the largest city in the world at that time.

4 On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5 The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.

6 When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. 7 Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:

“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. 8 People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. 9 Who can tell? Perhaps God will have pity on us even yet, and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”

“He who would have others pity him must pity others.”

~Yiddish proverb

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Music:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
miserere nobis.

have mercy upon us.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
miserere nobis.

have mercy upon us.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,

Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world,
dona nobis pacem.

grant us peace.

“Agnus Dei” by Samuel Barber and the Choir of New College, Oxford.  In view of Jonah’s reluctant and begrudging obedience, can you take 8 minutes out of your day to contemplate with thanksgiving  God’s great love  and mercy for you, and to pray for the salvation of all the world —

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10 When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he had mercy on them concerning the destruction he had threatened to bring upon them.  And he did not do it.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Lindegaard.     http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/3%20Obedience_Obeissance/20%20LINDEGAARD%20JONAS%20BB%20LE%20DOIGT%20LEVE.jpg
“Play it again.”    http://thejarboes.com/play%20it%20again%20sam.jpg

584.) Jonah 2

July 28, 2011

Jonah in the whale -- Frank Wesley

Jonah 2   (New Living Translation)

(To subscribers who have trouble getting the links to work, here is a suggestion.  When you open your new email of DWELLING, click on the top line, which is the number and text of the day’s posting — today’s is  584.) Jonah 2.  Or hit the URL link at the far right just above the opening picture.  Either one will take you to the DWELLING site.  You will find the page looks better, all the links work, and you can make and read comments!)

Pray, Jonah, Pray!

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish.

God could have rescued Jonah in any number of ways. He chose this specific way because of the effect it would have on Jonah’s heart.  The book of Jonah shows us important principles about the sovereignty of God. What happens when God wants a person to do something, but the person doesn’t want to do it? Jonah shows us that God has a way of bringing us to the place where we want what He wants.

–David Guzik

Dear Lord, Please let me never be so disobedient to you that you have to put me in the belly of a great fish before I will obey you!

2He said,

“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,
and he answered me.
I called to you from the land of the dead,
and Lord, you heard me!

Jonah knew the Word of God by heart!  He quotes from the Psalms:

Psalm 18:6 (New International Version)

In my distress I called to the LORD;
   I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
   my cry came before him, into his ears.

3 You threw me into the ocean depths,
and I sank down to the heart of the sea.
The mighty waters engulfed me;
I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.
4 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence.
Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’

Open my eyes, Lord, to see you beside me in every circumstance.

5 “I sank beneath the waves,
and the waters closed over me.

Psalm 42:7 (New International Version)

All your waves and breakers
   have swept over me.

Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
I was imprisoned in the earth,
whose gates lock shut forever.
But you, O Lord my God,
snatched me from the jaws of death!

Thank you, Lord, for all the times you have saved me from my own poor choices!

7 As my life was slipping away,
I remembered the Lord.
And my earnest prayer went out to you
in your holy Temple.

Psalm 31:22 (New International Version)

In my alarm I said,
   “I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
   when I called to you for help.

8 Those who worship false gods
turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
and I will fulfill all my vows.
For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”

Yes, Lord!  Forever and ever and ever I will say, Yes, Lord!

10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.

Jonah -- Philip Ratner (Dennis and Phillip Ratner Museum, Bethesda, MD)

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In the stomach of the fish -- Henri Lindegaard, 2003.

from Peculiar Treasures,
by Frederick Buechner

WHALE

If it was actually a whale that swallowed Jonah on his voyage to Tarshish, it couldn’t have been the kind of Right Whale you find in these waters because their gullets aren’t big enough.  Maybe it was a sperm whale because they can handle something the size of a prophet without batting an eye.  Or maybe, since the Hebrew word means only “great fish,” it wasn’t a whale at all but a man-eating shark, some of whom attain lengths as great as thirty feet.  But whatever it was, this much is certain.

No matter how deep it dove and no matter how dark the inside of its belly, no depth or darkness was enough to drown out the sound of Jonah’s prayer.  “I am cast out from thy presence.  How shall I again look upon thy holy temple?”  the intractable and water-logged old man called out from sixty fathoms, and Yahweh heard him, and answered him, and Jonah’s great relief at being delivered from the whale can hardly have been any greater than the whale’s at being delivered from Jonah.

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Music:

“Love Lifted Me.”  Randy Travis and Mac Powell.

  1. I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
    Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
    But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
    From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
    Refrain:

    Love lifted me!
      Love lifted me!
    When nothing else could help,
    Love lifted me!
  2. All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling,
    In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
    Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
    Faithful, loving service, too, to Him belongs.

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New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Wesley.    http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/Misc/Wesley/jonah5.gif
Ratner.    http://www.ratnermuseum.com/includes/images/photos/heroes/hero_13.jpg
Lindegaard.     http://www.artbible.net/1T/-Jon-01,01_Events_Portraits_Evenements/2%20Delivered_Delivrance/20%20LINDEGAARD%20JONAS%2014%20DANS%20LE%20VENTRE%20DU%20POISSON.jpg