The Message and the Messenger (Part 2)

Today is the second day of the fast of Jonah for the Coptic Orthodox Church, so I couldn’t but share about Jonah, again.

What triggered me to write another post was this simple verse:

And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. (Jonah 2:10)

Jonah is the son of Amittai, and Amittai in Hebrew (אֲמִתַּי) happens to mean “Truth”, and it seems that Jonah only understood truth and nothing about mercy. He refused to go to Niniveh, because he knew that God would have mercy on them and accept their repentance. He didn’t want that, he wanted truth.

Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. (Jonah 4:2)

Throughout the book of Jonah, God tried to teach him that it’s not only truth that counts it’s also compassion and mercy.

God said, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13 and Hosea 6:6).

A key verse to memorize is:

All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth. (Psalm 25:10)

God has been trying to teach Jonah mercy in several ways:

  1. Although Jonah told the mariners that the storm was because of him and that they should throw him overboard, they tried rowing to shore, and didn’t want to throw him. (Jonah 1:10-16)
  2. He could have died from drowning, but God calmed the sea and sent him a whale to save him from the sea. (Jonah 1:17)
  3. He could have been eaten by the whale, but no, it took him to dry land and vomited him there. (Jonah 2:10)

These 3 incidents were directly to him; people showed him mercy, the sea showed him mercy, and even the whale showed him mercy, but still he learnt nothing.

God never gave up on Jonah! After all His ways failed to teach him mercy, God gave Jonah the lesson of the plant; He grew it to shade him, and the next day destroyed it by a worm. Still Jonah didn’t get the point, so God had talk to him explicitly.

You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock? (Jonah 4:10:11)

I pray that God would teach us to be merciful on others and would exchange our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. You can read my post about that topic here, and let’s not forget, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7)

Did you ever experience God’s continuous trials of teaching you something?


11 thoughts on “The Message and the Messenger (Part 2)

  1. Mike, what a great post! I never thought about it this way. I think I always wondered why God allowed him such rope, but didn’t connect the dots as you have done so well. Thank you for the first learned lesson of my day!

  2. Mike, this makes me think about “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Your God.” He wants me to LOVE mercy . . .and not just for myself, but to love His mercy for others and to be merciful as well. God bless you as you continue in the fast of Jonah!

  3. Dear Mike,

    I was commenting last week that I was looking forward to communion in my church, especially praying John Wesley’s prayer of consecration from the Anglican Church:

    I do not presume to come to this Thy table, O merciful Lord, trusting in my own righteousness, but in Thy manifold and great mercies. I am not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under They table. But Thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy. Grant me therefore, gracious Lord, so to partake of this sacrament of Thy Son Jesus Christ, that I may walk in newness of life, may grow in His likeness, and may evermore dwell in Him, and He in me. Amen

    Danelle at commented
    “. . whose property is to always have mercy.” Yes, God does own mercy and He shares it with us abundantly because He is also Love.

    I was amazed by Danelle’s statement, “God does own mercy.” That was a new way of expressing it for me. In the prayer of consecration mercy is a property of His being, but Danelle gave property a slight twist in meaning, making a play on the word property as real estate we can own. By doing so she gave me a fresh view of God and His mercy. He owns it because it is His property! It is so simple!

    Thanks for these days with Jonah and insight into the Coptic Orthodox Church’s time of fasting. I learned so much here and there in communities with you. I also appreciated the time you spent commenting on Dark Night of the Soul over at my place. Please expand your thoughts over there if you have the time. You always leave such gems behind.

    Bless you, my Brother in Christ,

    PS My verse for the week from you Psalm 25:10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth.

  4. Pingback: » Take that trip!

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