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Series: The Divine Pursuit - A Study of Jonah
Week 1: Call - Day 3
“PRIDE GOES BEFORE DESTRUCTION; A HAUGHTY SPIRIT BEFORE A FALL” —PROVERBS 16:18
There is a truth in my life that I’d rather not acknowledge. I do more growing in my relationship with God in the painful places in my life. I’m sighing as I write this because I know how true it is. The difficulties, the struggles, the unanswered questions: this is where I am hungry to know God. I wish it wasn’t true of my pitiful heart, but I am fundamentally lazy when it comes to knowing Him. The good times of life just don’t inspire me to find Him!
Maybe you’ve heard people say, “that person doesn’t need a Savior.” Have you known people like that? People whose lives have come easily, who always seem to have it together, and who don’t struggle with much? Maybe it’s our own resentment that makes us say something about them “not needing Jesus.” The truth is that when life goes along pretty well, we don’t feel like we need a Savior. Our initial reading of Jonah seems to reveal this. In Chapter One, it’s pretty clear that Jonah didn’t think he needed God. Seems like God’s grace and mercy is that LAST thing he was looking for. Let’s explore further:
Let’s continue gathering the evidence for our case study of this man Jonah, beginning back in 1 Kings 14:24-26.
1 + 2 Kings give us a history lesson about the place and time that Jonah lived. We learn that Jonah successfully prophesied that Israel, his home country, would regain some of the land that she had struggled to maintain over the past hundred years. Israel was like the kid who could never stay out of trouble. Somehow she always found herself in conflict with bigger kids. Damascus had been the most recent bully, but Assyria, a large empire to the north of Israel, was also a threat.
This was a time of evil and oppression, and history tells us that the Israelites suffered, “whether slave or free.” Jonah prophesies that Israel would come into a time of peace, when her borders will be restored, and he’s right. While Assyria struggles internally, Jehoash, the king of Israel, manages to recover the territory that Israel once enjoyed.
Are you beginning to feel like the underdog is winning? Doesn’t that make you want to cheer those scrappy Israelites on? Yet like many stories, this one has an underside that’s not quite as cheery. Other prophets of Jonah’s time—Amos and Hosea— reveal that some of Israel’s woes were from their own sin. The victory over Assyria had wooed the Israelites into a spiritual pride and complacency that left them believing that they served a God that played favorites at the expense of other ...
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