No, not Jesus of Nazareth. He was much more than a prophet (Mark 15:39). Rather, I’m referring to Jonah of Gath Hepher, one of my favourite OT characters (the other is Daniel). Jonah’s knowledge of Scripture was impressive: on most of the (recorded) occasions he opened his mouth, out came the Bible:
|Jonah 1:9||Psalm 146:6|
|Jonah 2:2a||Psalms 3:4; 120:1|
|Jonah 2:2b||Psalm 118:5|
|Jonah 2:3a||Psalm 88:6—7|
|Jonah 2:3b||Psalm 42:7|
|Jonah 2:4a||Psalm 31:22|
|Jonah 2:8a||Psalm 31:6|
|Jonah 2:9a||Psalms 50:14; 69:30|
|Jonah 2:9c||Psalm 3:8|
|Jonah 4:2||Exodus 34:6|
One baffling thing is how Jonah was unable to apply his impeccable theology to his mind, will and emotions. The other—even more baffling—was the grace God kept extending to him. Being a prophet, Jonah knew better. Yet God didn’t strike him dead, let him drown or otherwise leave him to an ignominious death.
As Jonah said, Yahweh is “a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” The divine grace was lavished on the pagan sailors (saving them from shipwreck), on the Ninevites (saving them from destruction, albeit for a while) and on Jonah himself. Maybe Jonah should have quoted Psalm 103 instead:
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust
We all, from pagan to prophet, have it better than we deserve. For God is limited by neither faulty practice of right belief nor ignorance. He is willing to forgive the sins of both those who know His word well and those who are clueless!
This post is based on Jonah 1:9 and the things Jonah says!