To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
July/August 2015 Issue – Pursued by Grace, ‘I know that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love’ (Jonah 4:2)
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Psalm 95:1-11 (NIVUK):“Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.
For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods.
In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.
Today, if only you would hear his voice, ‘Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.”
So I declared on oath in my anger, “They shall never enter my rest.”’
I like the above Psalm, especially these verses (6-7): “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care.” The imagery of us being under the care of our amazing, creator God is something very special; especially when we consider that those who don’t belong to His flock will never enter His rest.
Selwyn continues to look at the issue of miracles, he writes: “Yesterday we said that the matter of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish was a miracle of timing and sustenance. I confess that I fail to understand why people who accept the Old Testament miracles such as the crossing of the Red Sea and the provision of manna in the wilderness … then struggle at the story of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish. …
One writer says that if you believe in a personal God then you have to believe that He can act upon His creation in a way that changes things. He can suspend the laws of nature or speed them up at will.”
You either believe that God created all things and can still influence His creation or you don’t. It does not matter if you take a literal view of Genesis or see it as symbolic of God’s creative power; either way God created everything according to His plan.
Let’s remind ourselves of Genesis 1:1-5: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light ‘day’, and the darkness he called ‘night’. And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day. … “
If we understand that all of creation serves God according to His purposes, then the simple act of having a great fish swallow Jonah such that he is ‘cut off from the living’ for three days (as Jesus was), is a natural thing to accept.
If you don’t believe the story of Jonah, or you see it as a purely symbolic type of parable, then I would like to hear from you – as to your reasoning.