Saturday, February 21, 2009

An angry prophet and a compassionate God (1)

Tomorrow morning I will be preaching on Jonah 4. I was struck by Hugh Martin's comment on Jonah's behaviour and state of heart.

Martin says these are "amazing instances of what the corruption of a believer may attain to, in its opposition to the will and work of God."

Even so he says of Jonah, that:
He made God his counsellor; honestly and unreservedly he unbosomed himself to God; his whole case and his whole heart he laid open, even as they were, to Him...Even those sinful emotions over which he had not yet obtained the mastery, he explains before the Lord.
Jonah is out of sync with the Lord:
His danger formerly was in fleeing from the Lord. Agitated and alarmed, he fled from the Lord. Agitated and alarmed now again, he flees to the Lord. This is the safety of his position now. He does not seek a refuge from God. He makes God his refuge.
And just as he had been with Nineveh, and just as he had been with Jonah not so long before that, he continues to show himself to be the LORD, full of grace and compassion, abounding in steadfast love.

As Richard Sibbes once wrote "there is more mercy in Christ than sin in us." And that is something that every minister needs to remember last thing on a Saturday night and first thing on a Sunday morning.

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