JONAH AND THE GOD OF ALL PEOPLE

Jonah_the_Prophet

Jonah 4:1-3 (New Living Translation)

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

Prophet Jonah was sent to preach to Nineveh, capital of Assyria, that their cup of wickedness was full; either they repent or face judgement from God. Assyria was a mighty country at that time similar to present day USA, or Germany, or China. Israel as a smaller neighbor feared Assyria, so the relationship between them was poor.

Nineveh was a great city, like New York, London or Paris; when they heard the message from Jonah, they were touched, and they all repented, including their King. God forgave them and the city was spared his judgement. What a happy outcome!

Not so for everyone though, Jonah became very angry, and said: 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. Just kill me now, LORD! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”

I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God – think about this…

This is a passage from the Old Testament half of the Bible; a passage from a narrative where God is extending his love and mercy to a gentile city, Nineveh. The God of the Bible is clearly not just a God of Israel, but a God of all people. Jonah saw this more than three thousand years ago; this merciful and compassionate God has not changed.

I pray your goals in 2018 include getting to know more of the God of the Bible, through studying the Bible a little more on a regular basis. Don’t be satisfied with my blog, or the word you hear from the pulpit, the radio or the TV, read the Bible a little more!

May the merciful and compassionate God of all people give you understanding and light as you study the Bible to get to know him a little more, Amen!

Read – Pray – Share!

 

Image: Jonah the Prophet By Sargis Babayan – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32665853   

LAY IT ALL TO JESUS THE MERCIFUL GOD

Luke 7:7 – 10 (NLT)

Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.” When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to the crowd that was following him, he said, “I tell you, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!” And when the officer’s friends returned to his house, they found the slave completely healed.

A great need all over the world is healing, from spiritual, physical, emotional, and psychological illnesses, bitterness, pain and sorrows. No one is spared this unwanted cup of affliction – rich and poor, enslaved and free, white and black, old and young. It is a constant reminder of human weakness despite our advanced technologies and medical knowledge.

Jesus healed people of different kinds, ages, and levels of faith. The centurion, a senior Roman soldier, was not Jewish but understood more than most Jews that Jesus is God and has great spiritual power. He understood that Jesus did not need to be physically in the presence of the sick person, for his word to cure, heal, and bring life back into that sick person.

This is an incredible level of confidence in Jesus, considering that we who now have a record of the miracles of Jesus, still find it difficult to trust and call on him for help. Many of us read of Jesus miracles and just don’t believe; some of us think we are too sinful and cannot receive anything from Jesus; others prefer to cry in front of their Pastor for prayers.

This Bible passage is for everyone. This senior army officer was not even a Church goer; but he strongly believed in God’s goodness and power in Jesus. He made his request in all humility, Jesus was amazed, and next thing was  ‘they found the slave COMPLETELY healed.’ Please don’t suffer in agony and in silence – open up your mouth and pray to Jesus.

Do not be afraid, do not think I must find a Pastor and present him or her a large gift to pray for me. It does not require many words or high sounding grammar – simple sincere humble prayers like ‘Jesus, have mercy on me, deliver me from pain, compassionate God heal me from ill health, in your great love return me to good health’, are acceptable to him.

Lay it all before Jesus the merciful God, and let him bring healing into your life, Amen!

 

Image: Jesus and the Centurion by Paolo Veronese [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons