Tuesday, December 20, 2016

TheStoryOfJonah : The Fifth Key to Repentance 2:10

By way of review, Jonah Chapter 2 is broken down into Five Keys to Repentance:

2:1-2 > The First Key to Repentance: Pray for Help
2:3 > The Second Key to Repentance: Accept Discipline
2:4-7 > The Third Key to Repentance: Trust in God
2:8-9 > The Fourth Key to Repentance: Yield to God
2:10 >   The Fifth Key to Repentance: Receive Redemption 

(If you're anything like me, seeing an acronym here helps to remember - PATYR).

As mentioned, these are all very key to understanding how we are to approach God when we know that we have been disobedient to His calling. From the beginning of the book of Jonah, as already mentioned as well, disobedience is the main theme. And due to this, there needs to be reconciliation between Jonah and his Creator. Not unlike the reinstatement that Peter receives from Jesus on the shores of Galilee (see John 21), Jonah receives grace. He receives pardon. He receives redemption.

One of the biggest factors that I find quite interesting in this space where Jonah is now put is the necessity of humility. I can't help but compare this event of Jonah being vomited on the shores to a mother giving birth to a child. The effort that a mother needs to expend while giving birth is phenomenal, the excruciating pain and it's not exactly the cleanest thing in the world. And yet Jesus teaches, Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you (John 16:21, 22).

It is very evident that there has been a significant struggle that Jonah has had to go through but there is joy that he can look forward to. And yet, here we are, the outcome of the struggle - redemption. Jonah could have easily died in the belly of the whale, but he didn't - he survived because he chose to seek redemption. Jonah chose life through the road of humility. And here we meet the other side of the same fifth key of redemption - responsibility. It clearly is the next step of Jonah's story. In the redemption that he receives from His LORD, Jonah then needs to be re-instated for the task that the LORD originally called him to. Please note this is a very important step of redemption. There is not even a hint to Jonah being given his life back, literally, and then God 'letting him go on his way'; there is still great responsibility put on him as there always was. Though he ran from Him, the LORD still chases after Jonah. Responsibility and Repentance are the two brothers or the two sides to the final key. But please never forget the LORD's grace.

Just picture this scene. A prophet who has been called out for the work of the LORD. He ran away from his responsibility (and privilege) that the LORD had given him. He was disciplined in the form of a large fish who swallowed him whole. He then confesses his need for the LORD and as a response, the LORD ...commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land. Note, this was from the LORD. It's always been from the LORD and about the LORD. Nothing has changed that. All has been in His complete control. But I implore you to never forget the grace of the LORD. The LORD had given Jonah a second chance. He wanted Jonah to be a part of the privilege of calling people. The LORD saw that He could use Jonah and saw past his frailty. Incredible. Just incredible. 

And so we start, again, where we started in Chapter 1 : The LORD (again) willing to condescend Himself to mankind and ask His creation to obey Him - for the express purpose of glorifying His Name.  

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