Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A RELUCTANT PROPHET AND A GRACIOUS AND COMPASSIONATE SAVIOUR


Jonah seemed to be a simple book to study, yet it was profound as I reflected on it during my Sabbath study break in Singapore.  This study revealed to me the very heart of our Lord Jesus Christ to save souls.  I have decided to share my study time and my reflection so that we can dialogue its content.  There could be other views I have not seen!

Jonah was a prophet that God used to speak to the wicked people from the nation of Assyria.  Nineveh was a great city in Assyria and Jonah was given the mandate to speak to them, before God made the final decision to destroy them.  The destruction was to take place within 40 days from the date of Jonah’s proclamation.

This book begins with God’s instruction to this prophet but Jonah knowing God’s nature and his own judgmental attitude toward the wickedness of the Assyrians, decides to run away in the opposite direction from the Presence of God.  This is possibly a backslidden state of a believer.

God then begins a journey in Johan’s life to woo him back to fulfill his calling as a prophet.  During this process our gracious LORD continues to save others around Jonah into His kingdom. This in my view is a good understanding on God’s heart towards evangelism.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is the ONE who gives the increase while using us, HIS BODY, to sow and water HIS SEED WORD!

The first group of people, whom Jonah encounters, is the crew travelling on the ship he boarded to Tarshish.  God hurls a great wind and caused a great storm, which was to break up the ship.  God who is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscience can do countless events to make His purposes come to pass in our lives as He was doing in Jonah’s.

Jonah, like many of us, had a disposition that projected a careless view of what was going to happen to all the lost souls around him.  He was abruptly awoken by the captain who demanded he sorted help from his God, as the others had been doing since the calamity started.  As God sovereignly worked through the casting of lots the crew realized that Jonah was the cause for the situation they were encountering.

Jonah unwittingly revealed to them the LORD God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land and this understanding of the LORD God cause the crew to cry out to HIM.  Jonah’s additional instruction on how to calm the sea not only cause none of them to perish but also ensured that all entered the kingdom of God as they all acknowledged the LORD God and worshiped HIM.

At the verge of his death, as Jonah was drowning (after the sailors casted him out of the ship) he now remembers the LORD God and cries out to HIM.  Verse 9 of Chapter 2 is worth repeating as he worships the LORD God with his last breath, “But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving.  That which I have vowed I will pay.  Salvation is from the LORD.  This is an excellent reminder to all of us because we are all called.  Some of us are being readied, some serving, some running away and some fathering but serving HIM is vital once we become a Christian!

Again the LORD God intervenes and appoints a great fish to swallow Jonah for 3 days and 3 nights.  The importance of believing the whole counsel of GOD is brought to sharp focus as we cross-reference this encounter with what Jesus spoke about in the Gospel of Matthew (12:40; 16:4).  We may not completely understand everything written in the WORD OF GOD at our first reading but we must still intellectually engage with the TRUTH.  Some TRUTHS may take a lot of research and usually takes us back to it original language (the language the books were written in).  Without spiritualizing our subject matter we need to still engage with the HOLY SPIRIT, who is our TEACHER, to discern the revelation in HIS WORD!  All TRUTHS are spiritually discerned and GOD takes us through the various phases of growth.  From feeding on milk to solid food, to knowing HIM better, which takes time.  Patience is a good virtue to possess in studying the WORD OF GOD.

GOD gives Jonah a second chance, which is the same way HE operates with all of us.  HE continues to give us many chances.  Jonah promptly goes to Nineveh and proclaims to the Assyrians the coming judgment of GOD.  The SPIRIT OF GOD convicted a whole nation from the greatest to the least of them.  Even the king’s heart was moved by GOD to issue a proclamation for all – man, beast, herd or flock, to pray and fast in humility - wearing sackcloth.  This they did (which I believe Jonah discerned they would) and as Jonah expected of GOD’s saving nature, HE relented from send the calamity. 

The gracious and compassionate GOD, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness and the One who relents concerning calamity reacts according to our contrite and broken state.  These Assyrians, whom GOD will use late to destroy the northern kingdom of Israel, were given reprieve for the fruit of repentance evident in their hearts and behavior.


God as always, continued to woo this angry and disapproving Jonah.  We see Jonah questioning God’s judgment of relenting sending the calamity to destroy the wicked Assyrians.  As an object lesson to teach Jonah, as he sat to view God’s judgment of the city of Nineveh, God appointed a plant to grow to sheltered Jonah.  Jonah was extremely happy about the plant for the plant provided him comfort.  But God then appointed a worm to attack the plant, which withered the next day.  GOD appointed a scorching east wind to blow as the sun’s heat beat down on Jonah’s head.  It was so bad that Jonah begged with all his soul to die.  God questioned Jonah, as HE normally does in our lives, the reason he was angry about the plant’s death.

The LORD God then draws out the lesson as HE focused HIS attention on the subject matter relating to compassion – mankind and GOD’s approach towards it.  Most of us are more concerned about our material possession and many other self-gratifying attractions but we don’t have the same level of compassion for the lost, least and last people groups of the world.  So GOD responded by letting Jonah know what HIS focus was upon, that is, the 120,000 persons as well as many animals that was lost and was perishing.


This book ends more reflectively unlike many other books of the Bible (although all do requires us to reflect at a deeper level all the time).  This I believe is for us to check ourselves to see if we are Jonahs in the making or Jonahs in the doing or a dead Jonah who had not fulfilled GOD’s will for our lives.  The choice is our and my desire is to work with HIM so that I can stand one day before HIM to hear HIM say as HE did in Matthew 25:23, “Well done, good and faithful slave.  You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master”

WHERE ARE YOU JONAH?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

King David praises God after the Ark is restored



Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name
Make known His deeds among the peoples
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him;
Speak of His wonders
Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the LORD be glad
Seek the LORD and His strength;
Seek His face continually
Remember His wonderful deeds which He has done,
His marvels and the judgements from His mouth,
O seed of Israel His servant,
Sons of Jacob, His chosen ones!
He is the LORD our God;
His judgements are in all the earth.
Remember HIs covenant forever,
The word which He commanded to a thousand generations,
The covenant which He made to Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac.
He also confirmed it to Jacob for a statute
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,
Saying,"To you I will give the land of Canaan,
As the portion of your inheritance
When they were only a few in number,
Very few, and strangers in it,
And they wandered about from nation to nation,
And from one kingdom to another people,
He permitted no man to oppress them,
And He reproved kings for their sakes, saying,
Do not touch My anointed ones,
And do My prophets no harm."
Sing to the LORD, all the earth;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
He also is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the LORD made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him,
Strength and joy are in His place.
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name,
Bring an offering, and come before Him;
Worship the LORD in holy array
Tremble before HIm, all the earth; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
And let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns."
Let the sea roar, and all it contains;
Let the field exult, and all that is in it.
Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD;
For He is coming to judge the earth.
O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good;
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Then say, "Save us, O God of our salvation,
And gather us and deliver us from the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
And glory in Your praise."
Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
From everlasting even to everlasting.
Amen!

King David spoke of the LORD judging the earth. I am reminded that in the midst of all I am doing I should not miss out on my own salvation. For me it is a good reminder to keep working out our salvation with fear and trembling!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Prayer to our Heavenly Father in Jesus name!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Help me keep You in my heart always, being wholehearted for You!
There is no one like You, no one besides You
You are my Rock and knowledge comes from You
Weigh my actions for You and have Mercy upon me
Let Your Grace abound in my life and situation
Strengthen me and ex halt my horn according to Your plans and purposes
My heart exults in You and my horn is ex halted in You and I rejoice in your salvation
Thank you for being my Lord and Savior!

Praying this in Jesus name! Amen

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Human Body

The human body has many members, yet each one has a unique role to play. The health and welfare of the body depend on the proper functioning of each member.
12:5 That is how it is in the body of Christ. There is unity (one body), diversity (many), and interdependency (members of one another). Any gifts we have are not for selfish use or display but for the good of the body. No gift is self-sufficient and none is unnecessary. When we realize all this, we are thinking soberly (12:3).
MacDonald, W., & Farstad, A. (1997). Believer's Bible Commentary : Old and New Testaments (Ro 12:4–5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009