I’m really digging the current series we’re teaching at Anchor Gaslamp. Vince and I have been co-teaching last Sunday and today and we’ve made it through the first two chapters of Jonah. It’s amazing how God’s Word can have so much value packed into such a small book.
Jonah was one of few Old Testament prophets actually called to a nation other than Israel. He was called to preach to Nineveh, a cruel city with a history of barbarism. Through the book of Jonah, we see part of God’s heart for the nations — that all people would come to know him and love him.
Also in the book of Jonah, we see so much of the struggles that happen in our own hearts as believers who God has called to live our lives on his mission. Last Sunday, Vince and I preached that “We are Jonah,” drawing several parallels from the first chapter of Jonah into our everyday lives.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah. The word of the Lord comes to us. God gave Jonah a mission, an objective. God calls us to a mission, a way of life. Jonah runs from God’s call to mission. Often we run from God’s mission for us — maybe not outwardly as Jonah ran from the Lord, but definitely inwardly we often rebel against God’s will. But God pursued Jonah (with a storm and a fish) for his own purposes and for Jonah’s good. God pursues us for his own purposes and for our good.
One of the other points we talked about was how Jonah’s actions affected those around him. There were important consequences for Jonah’s disobedience and obedience to God’s Word. When he runs from God’s call, the storm rocks not only him, but also everyone who is in the boat with him. However, as soon as he confesses his sin and is tossed overboard, the sea calms and those around him see a bit of the glory of the true God. Like Jonah, our rebellion against God affects those around us negatively. But also like Jonah, our obedience to God’s way of doing things will greatly affect those around us in a positive way — and will lead them to experiencing God.
My prayer for Anchor Gaslamp during this series is that we could begin to see more clearly the mission that God has given us in the city of San Diego. That we could begin to see the mission field that God has called us to in our relationships, families, and neighborhoods. Also, that once we see God’s mission, we can identify the idols in our hearts that keep us from obeying God’s call… whether that be materialism, sense of security, fear of rejection, selfish desires, etc. Anything that is causing us to “flee toward Tarshish” instead of sail directly “toward Nineveh” with the truth of God’s Word.
I’m excited to see what God is doing in our hearts and lives in the next few months. Maybe I’ll post about the Jonah 2 teaching next.