Sunday, July 7, 2019

Reflection - Do we reflect God's heart - Jonah's Legacy

Source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 9, Question 3, Page 125.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012


What can we learn from the story of Jonah that will alert us to our own foolish and ignorant ways?
PHOTO: What can we learn from the story of Jonah that will alert us to our own foolish and ignorant ways?
Through Jonah's ministry, Nineveh was saved as God counted its people in His flock. A few generation later, however, things would change again. When the city became the proud capital of Assyria, prophet Nahum would condemn its wickedness and prophesy its complete destruction. In 612 BC, some 150 years after Jonah's visit, Nineveh would be destroyed by the Medes; its revival would last only for several generations. This tells us that each generation must hear and respond to God's Word for itself. God has no grandchildren - only children.

We hope that Jonah ended his story by responding to God's grace and surrendering wholeheartedly to His will - not running away nor doing His will half-heartedly, but fully committed to doing God's will in God's way. And we hope that he eventually learned that not only must a prophet's message be from God, but the messenger must also be like God in character and compassion. Perhaps Jonah learned this lesson, and wrote his book in the Bible after allowing God to make this significant change within him, and the Holy Spirit to inspire him. He has left that legacy for us today.

In some ways, Jonah showed himself to be rather foolish in his actions and in his discipleship. But his story challenges us to look at ourselves and ask if we have been equally foolish and ignorant of God's way. Jonah's experience may make an entertaining tale, but it is also a sobering story. We too have a story to complete. Will we open our hearts to God and be a willing mission field? Will we learn not only to do His work for Him, but also to do it joyfully with Him? Will we share His wonderful character and compassion, and become more like Christ? Will we bear fruit for God?


How can we become wiser in the things of God?
God wants us to participate in these stories (parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), the Pharisees, and Jonah). He invites us to bring them to their right conclusion in our own lives, just as Jesus invited the Pharisees and the teachers of the law to see how similar they were to the elder brother in the parable, and how different they were from God.

Growing in wisdom
Most of us feel deficient in wisdom. We want to develop more of the biblically based understanding that helps us avoid the ways of wickedness and encourages us to live a life of righteousness and uprightness.

How can we grow in wisdom? The Bible provides sensible and sound guidance:

1. Ask God
The apostle James gives this advice: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). The word ask is translated from aiteo in Greek, and means to speak with an inner desire, to crave for. Our Heavenly Father loves and enjoys giving generously—and wisdom is one of those essential characteristics He gives.

2. Study the Scriptures
But we also have to do our part. As we continue to study the Scriptures, we need to look for areas in our lives where we are falling short of the standard God sets.

Why not read through the book of Proverbs, especially chapters 1-4? Robert L. Alden in his commentary on Proverbs states: “We might say the Book of Proverbs is for anyone who is wise enough to listen. Quite obviously wise people will listen to instruction while fools will not” (Proverbs 11). He continues: “Most of the proverbs are domestic, dealing with choices people make every day … they speak of family relationships, business ethics, moral choices, and inner motivation” (Proverbs 15).

3. Do not justify ourselves of sins
 As we discover our shortcomings, we must follow the example of King David in Psalm 51. David did not justify himself, but rather judged himself as being guilty of sin (Psalm 51:4). He understood the principle mentioned in Psalm 51:6: “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.Genuine, inward truth is a hallmark of wisdom!

We are invited to search our hearts and ask ourselves if we are like Jonah. The prophet's story challenges us to respond personally; when we do this, then we will remember that our hearts are God's mission field, and we will allow Him to work in us so that there will be revival, "times of refreshing" (Acts 3:19), and intimate fellowship with the Lord (Revelation 3:20). And then we will become wiser in the things of God, and learn to count as God does.
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What can we learn from the story of Jonah that will alert us to our own foolish and ignorant ways? How can we become wiser in the things of God?

What can we learn from the story of Jonah that will alert us to our own foolish and ignorant ways?

Jonah's Legacy [1]
Through Jonah's ministry, Nineveh was saved as God counted its people in His flock. A few generation later, however, things would change again. When the city became the proud capital of Assyria, prophet Nahum would condemn its wickedness and prophesy its complete destruction. In 612 BC, some 150 years after Jonah's visit, Nineveh would be destroyed by the Medes; its revival would last only for several generations. This tells us that each generation must hear and respond to God's Word for itself. God has no grandchildren - only children.



Each generation must hear and respond to God's Word for itself.
PHOTO: Each generation must hear and respond to God's Word for itself. God has no grandchildren - only children. Because although through Jonah's ministry, Nineveh was saved as God counted its people in His flock, but a few generation later, however, things changed again. Prophet Nahum condemn its wickedness and prophesy its complete destruction.
Painting by Thomas Cole, 1836 - The Course of Empire: Destruction. Nahum is mostly about God foretelling the destruction of the city of Nineveh.
Picture posted by FaithEquip

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-f4GGzCivP70/XSCjSqWZpFI/AAAAAAAAuhI/Rm36Swu62ngCb03-C-Wzoi_sJDZrZ9ELwCLcBGAs/s1600/Nahum-3.jpg
https://faithequip.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Nahum-3.jpg
https://faithequip.org/the-book-of-nahum/



Still, what Jonah did in Nineveh so long ago has a continuing legacy. Today, there are five or six Assyrian Christian denominations in Iraq and the nearby Middle Eastern countries. In Iraq, Jonah is still honoured and revered.

We hope that Jonah ended his story by responding to God's grace and surrendering wholeheartedly to His will - not running away nor doing His will half-heartedly, but fully committed to doing God's will in God's way. And we hope that he eventually learned that not only must a prophet's message be from God, but the messenger must also be like God in character and compassion. Perhaps Jonah learned this lesson, and wrote his book in the Bible after allowing God to make this significant change within him, and the Holy Spirit to inspire him. He has left that legacy for us today.



We hope that Jonah ended his story by responding to God's grace and surrendering wholeheartedly to His will - not running away nor doing His will half-heartedly, but fully committed to doing God's will in God's way.
PHOTO: We hope that Jonah ended his story by responding to God's grace and surrendering wholeheartedly to His will - not running away nor doing His will half-heartedly, but fully committed to doing God's will in God's way.
Picture posted by Bashar Behnam Bakuz

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PS84-RGu5J4/XSCjVHvx4WI/AAAAAAAAuhg/YtX6p6buOz8QmRKn01aDYW4QEQn1Ql_yACLcBGAs/s1600/jonah2.gif
http://www.bakhdida.ca/BashirBakoz/jonah2.gif
http://www.bakhdida.ca/BashirBakoz/Shortarticles.htm



In some ways, Jonah showed himself to be rather foolish in his actions and in his discipleship. But his story challenges us to look at ourselves and ask if we have been equally foolish and ignorant of God's way. [40] Jonah's experience may make an entertaining tale, but it is also a sobering story. We too have a story to complete. Will we open our hearts to God and be a willing mission field? Will we learn not only to do His work for Him, but also to do it joyfully with Him? Will we share His wonderful character and compassion, and become more like Christ? Will we bear fruit for God?



In some ways, Jonah showed himself to be rather foolish in his actions and in his discipleship.
PHOTO: In some ways, Jonah showed himself to be rather foolish in his actions and in his discipleship. But his story challenges us to look at ourselves and ask if we have been equally foolish and ignorant of God's way.
Picture posted by angelsofart.blogspot.com on Wednesday, 12 February 2004

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2pjLyJWCg4Y/XSCjQ0rh9hI/AAAAAAAAug4/KI2S4--WEFIVgXF0q9IKbj0uCi9CF-OIgCLcBGAs/s1600/44356_original.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-a_QafWDL0v0/UvuXagrfkOI/AAAAAAAAOoc/Ux7DySYjIog/s1600/44356_original.jpg
http://angelsofart.blogspot.com/2014/02/blog-post_9341.html

 

How can we become wiser in the things of God?
God wants us to participate in these stories (parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), the Pharisees, and Jonah). He invites us to bring them to their right conclusion in our own lives, just as Jesus invited the Pharisees and the teachers of the law to see how similar they were to the elder brother in the parable, and how different they were from God. [1]



How can we become wiser in the things of God?

PHOTO: How can we become wiser in the things of God?
God wants us to participate in these stories (parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), the Pharisees, and Jonah). He invites us to bring them to their right conclusion in our own lives, just as Jesus invited the Pharisees and the teachers of the law to see how similar they were to the elder brother in the parable, and how different they were from God.
Picture posted by Eric Zielinski, DC (Dr. Z) on November 24th, 2018

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-alKzkd6hJX4/XSCjRHtMxpI/AAAAAAAAug0/WZHA3o8MxUE8FgeTbB9JM1TwNt-tjpojgCLcBGAs/s1600/50-Bible-Verses-About-Wisdom.jpg
https://naturallivingfamily.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/50-Bible-Verses-About-Wisdom.jpg
https://naturallivingfamily.com/bible-verses-about-wisdom/



Growing in wisdom [2]
Most of us feel deficient in wisdom. We want to develop more of the biblically based understanding that helps us avoid the ways of wickedness and encourages us to live a life of righteousness and uprightness.

How can we grow in wisdom? The Bible provides sensible and sound guidance:

1. Ask God
The apostle James gives this advice: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5). The word ask is translated from aiteo in Greek, and means to speak with an inner desire, to crave for. Our Heavenly Father loves and enjoys giving generously—and wisdom is one of those essential characteristics He gives.



How can we grow in wisdom?
PHOTO: How can we grow in wisdom? The Bible provides sensible and sound guidance: Ask God
Picture saved from Donna Hopkins

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-dS45bKvs-7Y/XSCjS5V3X8I/AAAAAAAAuhM/j70wMbm3k88PMihkAbGzlTgpFXqf33omQCLcBGAs/s1600/e533da539a1663d90819c35ffc93689f.jpg
https://i.pinimg.com/originals/e5/33/da/e533da539a1663d90819c35ffc93689f.jpg
https://www.pinterest.jp/pin/94083079689789493/?lp=true

 

2. Study the Scriptures
But we also have to do our part. As we continue to study the Scriptures, we need to look for areas in our lives where we are falling short of the standard God sets.



How can we grow in wisdom?
PHOTO: How can we grow in wisdom? Study the Scriptures. As we continue to study the Scriptures, we need to look for areas in our lives where we are falling short of the standard God sets.
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UY7ZT4j-tGQ/XSCjRL9mi_I/AAAAAAAAugw/K-R5qUZtfc8JpcqMLgoz1RuaikBxdmNXACLcBGAs/s1600/169.jpg
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/mp/r1/lp-e/w18/2018/169 - (169.jpg)
https://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/2018286



Why not read through the book of Proverbs, especially chapters 1-4? Robert L. Alden in his commentary on Proverbs states: “We might say the Book of Proverbs is for anyone who is wise enough to listen. Quite obviously wise people will listen to instruction while fools will not” (Proverbs 11). He continues: “Most of the proverbs are domestic, dealing with choices people make every day … they speak of family relationships, business ethics, moral choices, and inner motivation” (Proverbs 15).



Read through the book of Proverbs, especially chapters 1-4.

PHOTO: Read through the book of Proverbs, especially chapters 1-4. “Most of the proverbs are domestic, dealing with choices people make every day … they speak of family relationships, business ethics, moral choices, and inner motivation” (Proverbs 15).
Picture posted by Hd My God Is
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https://breastcancerconqueror.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Depositphotos_79988456_l-2015.jpg
http://www.saryan.info/Hd-My-God-Is.html



3. Do not justify ourselves of sins
 As we discover our shortcomings, we must follow the example of King David in Psalm 51. David did not justify himself, but rather judged himself as being guilty of sin (Psalm 51:4). He understood the principle mentioned in Psalm 51:6: “Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.” Genuine, inward truth is a hallmark of wisdom!



How can we grow in wisdom?
PHOTO: How can we grow in wisdom? Do not justify ourselves of sins.  As we discover our shortcomings, we must follow the example of King David in Psalm 51. David did not justify himself, but rather judged himself as being guilty of sin (Psalm 51:4).
Picture posted by Jeffrey Tucker on 26 July 2010
https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-G2jyyYiUpSs/XSCjR_zEumI/AAAAAAAAug8/VolTteeo0foP_y5FCMSv15NBXCx52j0RQCLcBGAs/s1600/David-Psalms1.jpg
https://internetmonk.com/wp-content/uploads/David-Psalms1.jpg
http://www.chantcafe.com/2010/07/why-do-we-always-repeat-the-psalm-antiphon-between-verses/



We are invited to search our hearts and ask ourselves if we are like Jonah. The prophet's story challenges us to respond personally; when we do this, then we will remember that our hearts are God's mission field, and we will allow Him to work in us so that there will be revival, "times of refreshing" (Acts 3:19), and intimate fellowship with the Lord (Revelation 3:20). And then we will become wiser in the things of God, and learn to count as God does. [1]



We are invited to search our hearts and ask ourselves if we are like Jonah.
We are invited to search our hearts and ask ourselves if we are like Jonah.
PHOTO: We are invited to search our hearts and ask ourselves if we are like Jonah. Remember that our hearts are God's mission field, and we will allow Him to work in us so that there will be revival, "times of refreshing" (Acts 3:19), and intimate fellowship with the Lord (Revelation 3:20).
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Dear Lord, We learn that each generation must hear and respond to God's Word for itself.
Dear Lord, We learn that each generation must hear and respond to God's Word for itself.
PHOTO:Dear Lord, We learn that each generation must hear and respond to God's Word for itself. God has no grandchildren - only children. Our revival would only last for several generations. A few generation later things would change again.

Just as we hope that Jonah, we should also ended our story by responding to God's grace and surrendering wholeheartedly to His will - not running away nor doing His will half-heartedly, but fully committed to doing God's will in God's way. A messenger of God must also be like God in character and compassion.

Jonah showed himself to be rather foolish in his actions and in his discipleship. But his story challenges us to look at ourselves and ask if we have been equally foolish and ignorant of God's way.

Please help us to complete our story with opening our hearts to God and be a willing mission field. Help us learn not only to do His work for Him, but also to do it joyfully with Him. We want to share His wonderful character and compassion, and become more like Christ, bearing fruit for God.

We need to develop more of the biblically based understanding that helps us avoid the ways of wickedness and encourages us to live a life of righteousness and uprightness. We lack wisdom. We ask our Heavenly Father to grant us this essential characteristics. With wisdom, it help us to lead the ways of holiness, righteousness and uprightness.

Please help us to continue studying the Scriptures, and look for areas in our lives where we are falling short of the standard set by God.

When we sin, help us not to not justify ourselves, but rather to judge ourselves as being guilty of sin. Because with genuine, inward truth is a hallmark of wisdom.

Help us to search our hearts and ask ourselves if we are like Jonah. Help us to respond personally; and that we remember that our hearts are God's mission field. Because by allowing Him to work in us there will be revival with times of refreshing, and intimate fellowship with the Lord. And then we will become wiser in the things of God, and learn to count as God does.

As in Psalm 139:23-24, Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!


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Reflection - Do we reflect God's heart - Jonah's Legacy
Question from source (book): "God in Pursuit", Chapter 9, Question 3, Page 125.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012




Also from the same author, Robert M. Solomon

"Faithful to the end", A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon

'Faithful to the end', A Preacher's Exposition of 2 Timothy, @ 2014 by Robert M. Solomon<br>
Reflection - Faithful to the end (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2017/06/reflection-faithful-to-end-links.html


"Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, © 2016 by Robert M. Solomon

Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
Reflection - Finding rest for the soul (Links)
https://veryfatoldman.blogspot.com/2018/10/reflection-finding-rest-for-soul-links.html



Reference
[1] From "God in Pursuit" Lessons from the Book of Jonah, Copyright © 2017 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-801-6, Part IV: Jonah 4:1-11, Chapter 9 "Do we reflect God's heart?", Page 124-125.

[2] Andre van Belkum, The Importance of Wisdom and How to Become Wiser, https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible/holy-bible/old-testament/the-writings/proverbs/importance-of-wisdom/

[40] Philip Cray, Jonah, Braxos Theological Commentary on the Bible (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2008), 19.


New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Acts 3:19 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+3%3A19&version=NIV

James 1:5 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James+1%3A5&version=NIV

Jonah 4:1-11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jonah+4%3A1-11&version=NIV

Luke 15:11-32 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+15%3A11-32&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-29&version=NIV

Proverbs 1-4 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+1-4&version=NIV

Proverbs 11 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+11&version=NIV

Proverbs 15 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+15&version=NIV

Psalm 51 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+51&version=NIV

Psalm 51:4 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+51%3A4&version=NIV

Psalm 51:6 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+51%3A6&version=NIV

Psalm 139:23-24 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+139%3A23-24&version=NIV


Revelation 3:20 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Revelation+3%3A20&version=NIV