The Book of Leviticus is a solution. God took the initiative to provide a way to reconcile his relationship with rebellious Israel. He invited them to live in his holy presence despite their sin, through a series of rituals and sacred institutions. Leviticus is all about God’s grace!
Israel’s exodus from Egypt is the event that forms them into a nation and is the model for God’s plan of redemption throughout Scripture. God invited Israel to enter into a covenant relationship with him, but their own sin and idolatry became the greatest threat to God’s covenant promises.
Genesis is composed of two main movements. Chapters 1–11 are a story about all of humanity over thousands of years. Then chapters 12–50 are a story covering a few hundred years of one man’s family. Somehow, what is happening with this single family is linked to the fate of all humanity. Genesis establishes the basic plot line and basic themes of the entire biblical story.
Torah is the Hebrew title for the first five books of the Bible—Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books aren’t easy to read, and most of us wouldn’t choose to read them for leisure. But they’re important because they create the need for Jesus.
Jonah chapter 3 could have been a beautiful finish to the book. The prophet preached, God’s Word was effective, the Ninevites repented. But there is a chapter 4. And this last chapter reveals that the story was never about Jonah and the Ninevites all along. This is a story about God and his own people—about how God deals with his own angry children. God is trying to get his own people to see that they need his grace as much as anyone else.
Our study of the book of Jonah continues this week with chapter 3. Jonah went to Nineveh, the city of his enemies, and delivered a very strange, very short sermon at which the people of Nineveh have a very surprising response. The city was indeed overturned, but not Sodom-and-Gomorrah style. Chapter three explores the meaning of the biblical word ‘conversion.’
This week at King of Grace we are continuing our study of the book of Jonah. In chapter 1 we saw Jonah asleep at the wheel, headed down, down, down in his flight from God. But we also saw God’s merciful pursuit of Jonah, trying to wake him up. In chapter 2 we find out that it worked! Finally Jonah is awake and praying to his God. This chapter is an invitation to the reader to participate in Jonah’s experience of prayer in the midst of suffering. Jonah didn’t know it, but God was already bringing him back to life in the midst of his death.
The book of Jonah is a satire, using extreme circumstances, humor, and irony to critique the stupidity and character flaws of Jonah—and ultimately to critique the reader. The story is not about the fish, and it’s not even really about Jonah. The prophetic message of this book lies in God’s compassionate dealings with human beings everywhere.