Thursday, July 12, 2007

Jonah the Anti-Hero Prophet 1

"...and the ship thought it would shatter (like pottery)" (Jonah 1:4).

What creative personification by the poet-author of Jonah! God "hurls" a great wind onto the sea and the ship thinks, "Uh oh, I am going to crack up!" The ship thinks. Remember the little engine that could? "I think I can..." A rebellious Jewish prophet makes a ship think.

Jonah 1 presents an Israelite shocker: Jonah gets a Yahweh-call and immediately proceeds to disobey it. When verse 3 was read for the first time, the Jewish listeners sucked all the air out of the room. Jonah did not go for or with the LORD; twice we read that he went away from the LORD. Silly, silly man.

During the hurricane, sailors and captain are frantically throwing cargo overboard and crying to their gods, "Help! Help!" But Jonah "has a real peace" about his decision. He is below deck sound asleep.

Never bank on "having peace about it" to verify the will of God. Jonah had "peace" and was in active rebellion from God. "Having peace about it" for many is a cloak to do what they want to do or to avoid what they don't want to do..."I just don't have 'peace' about it." Be careful with that tom-foolery.

"The lot fell to Jonah." Now Jonah owns up to his rebellion. Lots don't lie.

Jonah got tossed overboard to settle the fury of Yahweh as symbolized in the fierce storm. At first the sailors tried to get to shore, but couldn't make it. They were good guys. As soon as Jonah sank, the storm stopped. The pagan sailors worshipped Yahweh. Jonah is a sorry specimen of faith compared to them.

God "appointed" a great fish who went fishing for men and caught Jonah. Jonah can tell you a lot about "bowels of mercy." He does in the next chapter.



At 7/13/2007 6:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi John,
Just discovered your blog. I am a pastor in South Africa. Read and enojyed your book Jesus the Radical Pastor. From time to time I read one chapter. I studied Peterson's book The Jesus Way during 'n wekks leave in the Kruger National Park and returned to my computer to search the ointernet on Peterson and I discovered this blog. Thanks for referring to Jonah in 2007. Thanks for encoraging us not to have to much peace to easy. I have experience that sometimes to have peace is to be out of relationship with Jahwe - as Pterson would refer to God.
Attie Nel.

At 7/13/2007 6:43 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Attie Nel,
I am so pleased you found this blog JESUS THE RADICAL PASTOR and I'm glad my book *Jesus the Pastor* was an encouragement to you. Please keep in touch. God bless you!

At 7/13/2007 8:19 PM, Blogger Adam Gonnerman said...

Jonah is a fascinating little book. When it finally dawned on me that this was as much an indictment of Israel for failing to carry out God's mission to the Gentile nations as anything, it was as though scales fell from my eyes. I'll look forward to what you have to say (as always).

At 7/14/2007 10:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've always felt we were/are way too hard on Jonah. I doubt any of us would have been all that different from him were we wearing his sandals. Maybe I'm wrong. Who knows. We should get together for some coffee again. Have you tried Noshville?

At 7/14/2007 11:58 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

What Hosea was as incarnating by his marriage to Gomer the adulteries of Israel, Jonah is in incarnating their nationalistic prejudice against otherr...contrary to the heart of God.

At 7/14/2007 11:59 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

I agree. There is a whole lot of "Jonah" in all of us...especially in light of the Assyrians...aka Iraq.

At 7/14/2007 7:02 PM, Blogger Adam Gonnerman said...


Yes, of course I agree regarding Jonah and Hosea. I have a post in my favorites list on Igneous Quill entitled "Prophet's Passion" that discusses Hosea and the heart of God. It's fascinating to find how the prophets were called to embody the message and even identity of God in some aspect to His people.

Then, He actually became one of them (us) and REALLY showed the heart and intentions of God.

At 7/14/2007 7:18 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Good stuff, brother.

At 7/16/2007 7:22 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I added your blog to our list of blogs to check out.

Mike Ellis
Church for Men Florida

At 7/16/2007 10:12 AM, Blogger John Frye said...

Thanks so much!

At 7/21/2007 6:53 AM, Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

John, What a great storyteller you are! I need to develop that in my own way, but you're a master at it, brother!

I like the point you make here about the tom-foolery of being at peace about something. What a danger it is when the light in us is actually not God's light but our own. Sooner or later though, people and all of us find out, hopefully sooner.

Jonah, what a story! God ends up getting him in the end, and one way or another, all end up the same with Jonah.

At 7/22/2007 6:49 PM, Blogger John Frye said...

Thanks for the high five. I do enjoy being a little creative with the story.

I have seen the little phrase "I don't have peace about it" cover a multitude of disobedience.

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