Running Away from Home
from the Jonah reading plan
Read the Word
Even if you didn’t grow up going to Sunday School, you’ve probably heard the story of Jonah and the whale. A favorite of the flannelgraph set, Jonah’s heroic story of rebellion, consumption, rescue and ultimate completion of his task can be seen in literary archetypes from Pinocchio to Odysseus.
But if you read the entire book of Jonah, you’ll realize that Jonah is anything but a hero. And even though he is the main character in a book named after him, the book of Jonah isn’t really about Jonah – it’s about God and His great mercy.
You may have heard people say, “The God of the Old Testament is a God of judgment, the God of the New Testament is a God of grace.” Besides this statement being theologically problematic (God is the same yesterday, today and forever), when we look at the Old Testament, we see over and over again that God is described as “gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” These words are actually the ones God uses to describe Himself when He meets with Moses on the top of Mount Sinai.
As we study Jonah, we’ll see God’s grace and mercy in full form. To Jonah, God’s mercy will end up being problematic. As you walk through this short book, consider how the compassion and mercy of God impact each of the characters in the story.
For an excellent overview of the book of Jonah, check out this short video from The Bible Project.
Are you drawn to one testament of the Bible over another? Why or why not?
What is your reaction when you think about the wideness of God’s mercy? Has it ever been problematic for you or for someone you know? Talk to God about it today.