Jonah and the Big Sociopolitical Bias

Greetings Beloved,

Ah, it is time for another round of U.S. mid-term elections, along with all of their disturbingly quirky social commentaries, conservative and liberal soap boxes, and billions of dollars thrown into a broken election system. I’m never bored.

For those of you who are new readers to my blog, I write mostly about issues relating specifically to Christianity and the person of Jesus Christ, including a regular infusion of prophecy and politics. I can assure you however, that you will find no Glenn Beck-ness or references to Joel C. Rosenberg novels. Furthermore, I am an unashamedly non-republican conservative, whose conservative views are often too conservative for my own camp and lead to a perplexing curiosity as to why I have so many liberal friends and relatives.

Here’s a little food for thought…

I love the Prophets of the Old Testament. In no other place in literature or history do we see such a clear and precise signpost pointing to Jesus Christ. He is the the reason of the prophets, and continues to remain today in all true prophetic ministry. If we cannot clearly see the character, beauty, and revelation of Jesus Christ in prophecy- we’re missing the point. Within this context we also see a vast portrayal of social, political, and cultural commentary on justice. Only when we see and know Jesus rightly can we understand true justice.

Consider the prophet Jonah. There’s a lot packed into the little the book of Jonah’s account. You probably know, but let me summarize the story: Jonah hears the word of God and is commanded to preach it to Nineveh. Jonah buys fare for a ship ride in the opposite direction. Jonah is then swallowed by a giant fish and survives three days and nights inside the fish before submitting to God. Finally, Jonah decides to preach in Nineveh, witnesses the city turn to God, and gets angry with God’s mercy and forgiveness toward the Ninevites.

One of the big questions in the book of Jonah is “why did he not want to preach in Nineveh?” There is no reference to Jonah being afraid. This is interesting, because one of the main issues a lot of prophets have faced is fear. I would assume that fear was not one of Jonah’s hindrances or else it would say so in the Scriptures. If it was not fear, then what would have caused Jonah to run the opposite direction? What if, maybe, Jonah did not want to see the Ninevites repent? The Ninevites were Assyrian, and not the classiest bunch of Assyrians either. They were a pompous culture governed by a blood-thirsty ruler. We see later that Jonah was upset that God did not destroy Nineveh, so I think its safe to say that Jonah did not hold them in high regard and this was likely the reason he did not want to preach to them.

Jonah also lived during the ministries of Amos and Hosea, who both prophesied against Israel and Judah. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to the Israelites if God’s people didn’t repent and faced destruction, but the heathens turned to God and were redeemed? Another possibility is that Jonah’s patriotism for his own countrymen ran deeper than His allegiance to Yahweh. This could explain why Jonah would try to flee God’s presence in hopes of seeing the Assyrian destroyed.

Whatever the reason, it is not difficult to see some of the social and political commentary that can arise from the account of one true prophet. We also see that God sometimes calls bad people to a good work. Jonah was a hard-hearted man who rebelled against the voice of the Almighty. It wasn’t until after God called Jonah to be His mouthpiece to the Ninevites that Jonah repented, and even after Jonah repented he still had some bad attitudes to work through. I also think its interesting that the book of Jonah ends with God talking to a still hard-hearted Jonah. We don’t even see the whole redemption process play out in Jonah’s life. It is likely though that Jonah’s heart finally softened, because we see that God is still speaking with Jonah after the great work of his preaching, revealing that all along God still cares more about Jonah’s heart than the influence of his ministry.

So how do we apply these things to our world, in an election year at that? Well, first of all, remember that it is the message of Christ that must be exalted over the gospel of America. Remember that God can still speak through ‘bad‘ Christians. Remember, my conservative allies, that we can vote against liberal lawmakers while maintaining mercy and forgiveness in our speech and actions toward those we disagree. Above all, remember that Jesus Christ is the single purpose for all we are and do, and that His gospel alone can right the wrongs in our nation.

Happy Election Year

-J. S. Marek

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