On the weekend blog, I touched very briefly on Sunday’s excerpt from the book of Jonah and I began an all too brief introduction on a complicated issue – how to read the bible intelligently in order to get the maximum benefit from it. My point the other day was that while everyone knows about Jonah and the whale, very few of us know what really the purpose of the message is and what its meaning is.
We know nothing about the prophet Jonah but the majority of Scripture scholars date the book between the fourth and second centuries BC. It was written at a time in the post-exilic period; namely, after the Jews had returned from their enslavement in Babylon. It was an age when the Israelites were tempted to hope more for the destruction of their enemies than for their salvation. The author of this book conveys a message about the extent of the Lord’s mercy not just for the Jews, but for the whole human family. It is a message that God’s people needed at the time that it was written and it is a message that all of us need today. Jonah is a tremendous gift to us not just as a teaching tool, but as conveying an extraordinarily important component of the Christian message.
God loves the human family!
More later about Jonah.