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jonah whaleFollowing the Life Journal reading plan, yesterday we reflected on the prophet Joel and today I’d like to take a quick look at Jonah. Let’s make some observations about the God revealed in Jonah.

The God of Jonah changes his mind. Actually, the text says God repents (3.10). That’s the word used there, I believe. It’s translated “relent” but that’s only not to tick off the Calvinists. I’m not trying to be argumentative (thanks to today’s NT reading), but this verse doesn’t sit well with the picture of God whose plans are set in stone, less still one who controls every little thing. The picture of God here is radically relational – he genuinely interacts with us, so much so that our actions call out unplanned responses from within him.

The God of Jonah does things we think are wrong. I love 4.1: “But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.” Note specifically what God does wrong here: he is more gracious than his servant would like him to be. I’m no universalist, but if God “saves” or accepts people you don’t think he should, how will you respond? The extent of God’s grace always surprises (and often offends) God’s own people. Don’t forget how scandalous grace is – in your case too.

The God of Jonah loves animals. The ending of this book is so weird to me. “And should I not have concern for the great city Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people, who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals?” Seriously? And also many animals? This is how the book ends; it’s literally the last word. Apparently this God loves animals. That’s kind of cool.