Well which is it: are we saved? are we being saved? or, are we going to be saved?
Actually, it’s all three.
Our spiritual pilgrimages began long before our birth. God had a plan for our lives.
And, after we come to God in faith, he is not finished with us. He works each day to make us more like Jesus.
And, there was more in the future. He will return for his people and we will live with him in eternity experiencing God unhindered by the failings we experience each day on earth.
Chapter 1- God saved the sailors
God used an imperfect Prophet.
Jonah was told to go eastward to the Assyrians. He went westward in a ship that would take him as far as possible in the opposite direction. In the middle of his rebellion, during a frightful storm, he was able to speak truth to the seeking, unbelief of the sailors.
They came to God after his witness and after they had thrown him into the churning sea.
Chapter 2- God saved Jonah
God was not finished with Jonah.
God does not play one strike and you’re out.
God is committed to people and reaches out to failures where they are and continues to offer them places of service. As far as the sailors were concerned Jonah was dead, but God miraculously preserved his life because God was not done with him
Chapter 3- God saved Nineveh
To the Jewish person of Jonah’s day, the Assyrians where the personification of evil and Nineveh their capital city was the citadel of the enemy.
No one is so evil that they cannot change and come to God. He is always the watching and waiting father in the parable of the Prodigal Son.
Change is always an option. Jonah preached and the people changed.
Chapter 4- God saved Jonah again
Jonah was unhappy when the Assyrians were spared judgment.
His unhappiness was wrong.
God cares about the failures of his people. He continues to work with us. We should never assume that when God uses us it is a pronouncement of our perfection.
Even those who have had great success in God’s service need to be pushed forward.
Jonah did what God told him to do but he did not see the Assyrians as people who needed God. They were the enemy of the Jews.
He did what he was told to do but he didn’t really want what was best for them.
God saved him from his imperfect self again.
God uses imperfect people to share his message.
As long as we are alive, God is working to make use more like Jesus.
God is a God a second chances. Change is always an option.
Even after we are used by God, he still wants to grow our character.
Bonus lesson – the big picture of the book
Jonah wrote a book where he is not the perfect hero.
Like Habakkuk and Jeremiah, he told the story of his life in a way that revealed his weaknesses as well as how he was used by God. He used his shortcomings the magnify the grace of God.
Questions for consideration:
How is God working in your life to make you more like Jesus?
How is he using you in the lives of others?