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September 2 – A book of warning

“And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”” – Jonah 4:4 

Scripture reading: Jonah 4:1-4

The book of Jonah is a book of encouragement and comfort, but it is also a book of warning. The story of Jonah was a warning to the whole nation of Israel during the time in which it was written, and it continues to be a warning to us today.

In a sense, Jonah the prophet is representative of the nation of Israel, the covenant people of God. Although Jonah is an Israelite, a member of God’s covenant people, and a recipient of God’s compassion and patience, we notice repeatedly how flawed he is as a person. He is a sinner, and he sins badly throughout this story. Jonah is not the hero of this story.

As Jonah is a representative of the covenant people of God, we witness the worst tendencies that tend to form inside God’s covenant people. The events of Jonah’s life are representative of what happened and what happens to God’s people. Those sins can be pride, hard-heartedness, judgmentalism, tribalism, small-mindedness, and the inability to change and grow and be amazed by God’s amazing grace.

We need to see ourselves in Jonah, and like him, we must learn the wonder of God’s patience toward us and others and the beauty of the grace of repentance.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray that through the story of Jonah the Lord would reveal to you your own sin. Are you proud, judgemental, small-minded, and lacking amazement of God’s grace? Pray that the Lord would work repentance in your heart.

Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.

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