Friday, May 12, 2017

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday May 14, 2017

Over 130,000 readers worldwide

(Pray when your situation seems hopeless)
(Jonah 2)

   After GOD had miraculously altered Jonah’s self-conceived itinerary, and caused him to be swallowed up by a very large fish, during “a divinely provoked storm” at sea, the prophet now sits in the belly of this great creature, praying, not so much for rescue, as he is praying for forgiveness for refusing to honor GOD’s charge to him to go to Nineveh, and deliver HIS message to his pagans enemies who lived there.
    After much repent and prayer by Jonah, GOD, in HIS OWN unique way, releases him back on dry land, giving him a second shot at obedience. Here in Jonah 2, the prophet abandon’s his previous selfish attitude of “national pride” and now incorporates the travel plans that GOD had originally given him back in Samaria.
    Despite the simplicity of the story of Jonah, it is perhaps one of the better books in the Old Testament, as far as its teachings on spiritual lessons are concerned. In this terse but wonderful book, GOD is rightfully presented as being deeply concerned about the welfare of all people, not just the Israelites. In this book we also see how gracious HE can be with the people whom HE calls, despite their great effort to ignore HIS calling.
    In essence, Jonah’s mission to Nineveh would also serve as an object lesson to Israel, who at that time, as far as their behavior was concerned, was living just as far away from GOD as Nineveh was. Perhaps the timing of this mission, which came during the reign of Jeroboam II, a time of great prosperity in Israel, served to confront those social injustices and various other evils that seemed to grow right alongside the Israelite’s fledgling and immensely healthy economic conditions.
    We can consider ourselves very fortunate that GOD has compassion on all mankind, believers and unbelievers, and HE allows it to rain on both the “just”, and, the “unjust” at the same time, and perhaps, this is the reason why; There are many people in this world who don’t believe in GOD, and yet, are still very capable of doing “a right thing” from time to time. Also, there are many Christians in this world, who often know “the right thing to do”, but yet, they yield to their own “sin nature” and choose to do “the wrong thing” anyway.
    We have to always keep in mind that it is GOD’s desire that all men be saved, and that is HIS eternal attitude toward mankind in general. However, GOD also knows that most people are going to choose to go to Hell, and that, only a remnant will ultimately choose salvation over their own selfish desires. Jonah erred in his attitude and behavior toward the Assyrians, because he did not desire that “GOD’s Will” be done in the lives of other human beings, who, like himself, are also made in the spiritual image of GOD.
    GOD embodies us all with the same “communicable attributes” (HIS Nature) from birth. HE endows only the “human side” of HIS creation with the attributes of Life, Personality, Truth, Justice, Love, Wisdom, and Holiness. These attributes automatically renders all human beings, no matter whom they are, or, where they come from, capable of worshiping GOD, and having a personal, experiential relationship with HIM. And so, an “obedient witness”, regardless of their race, creed, or national origin, can, through their speech and behavior, be effective in fulfilling the desires of GOD, for all mankind, here on earth. And that includes all of us.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander



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