By Pastor Jenna Couch, Zion Lutheran Church, Jubilee
Last week, we looked at Jonah, chapter one. Read Jonah chapters two and three.
Chapter two is in psalm form. Some scholars believe this psalm was more sarcasm than anything. Given what we read in chapter one, it doesn’t seem like Jonah has much to be thankful for; although perhaps he was grateful that he was “safe” in the belly of a fish rather than dead. At any rate, upon hearing Jonah’s song of thanks, God has the fish spit Jonah up on shore.
Chapter three is Jonah’s second chance. Despite his attempts to flee from God’s call, God sees potential in Jonah, and again, asks him to go to Nineveh and give them the message that God had to tell them. Notice that in chapter one, God asks Jonah to go to Nineveh to cry out against it because of their wickedness. Now, in chapter three, the text is vague about this message. It just says “proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” We, as the readers of the story, are not privy to what that message is, but can presume from Jonah’s words, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown,” that God meant business! Despite Jonah’s reluctance in the beginning, he gets his job done. Nineveh listens and repents of their sins. When God sees this, God changes His mind about his plan for Nineveh.
We tend to like to think that God has a master plan and that it must go just so. This story helps us realize that we are blessed with a God that is flexible but in control; loving, but firm. Next week, we’ll read about Jonah’s surprising reaction to God’s grace for Nineveh.