Through the book of Jonah we are constantly confronted by situations where God’s mercy unfolds in unanticipated ways which, as a result, bring about unexpected responses and outcomes. The book calls us to be confronted by God’s unanticipated mercy.
Part 1 - A Disturbing Call From A Merciful God
The call by God for Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach is a call which confronts Jonah with a disturbing dynamic of God’s unanticipated mercy. Jonah finds this call too disturbing so he goes in the opposite direction to run away from the call of God.
Part 2 - Our Identity Before A Merciful God
Jonah professes to be a Hebrew who worships the Lord. However, because he cannot accept the unanticipated mercy of God Jonah behaves like cargo. We are cargo when we don't speak to God.
Part 3 - Rescued By A Merciful God
Out of desperation Jonah offers a foxhole prayer; with no repentance, blaming God, self-righteousness and false piety. God's mercy still continues to be shown to Jonah as God rescues Jonah. It is an unanticipated outcome.
Part 4 - Recommissioned By A Merciful God
In God’s economy failure is never a defining outcome because God never gives up on anybody – therefore we should always expect the miracle of transformation to take place.
Part 5 - A Grace Extinguisher And A Merciful God
In his anger Jonah seeks to extinguish the grace and compassion which God has shown to Nineveh. As we go through life we need to be aware of those times when we have also extinguished the grace of God and found ourselves in a place where God is asking, “Do you have a right to be angry?”
Part 6 - The Compassion of A Merciful God
God teaches Jonah a visual lesson by providing, and then removing, the shade of the vine. Through this lesson Jonah is faced with the question of whether he has a right to be angry. That question continues to hang in the air.