“So Jonah had a problem with the job he was given. But he had a bigger problem with the One who gave it to him. Jonah concluded that because he could not see any good reasons for God’s command, there couldn’t be any. . . . We have all had that experience. . . . When this happens we have to decide — does God know what’s best, or do we? And the default mode of the unaided human heart is to always decide that we do.”- Timothy Keller (emphasis author’s)
“The relevant lesson [of the book of Jonah] is about the incapacity of mortals to understand, let alone to judge, their God.”- Jack M. Sasson, Jonah: A New Translation
Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 1 of The Prodigal Prophet as he stresses that Jonah teaches us about the different strategies for escaping from God. Strategies the apostle Paul outlines in Romans 1-2. Paul speaks of pagan, immoral Jews who simply reject God overtly (Romans 1). Then in Romans 2, Paul talks of Bible-believing, moral Jews who seek to follow God’s Word.
Therefore, the apostle Paul sums up, one group diligently tries to follow God’s law. While the other group ignores it. Yet, both have turned away. Hence, Pastor Keller explains:
“We think that if we are religiously observant, virtuous, and good, then we’ve paid our dues, as it were. Now God can’t just ask anything of us — he owes us. He is obligated to answer our prayers and bless us. This is not moving toward him in grateful joy, glad surrender, and love, but is instead a way of controlling God, and, as a result, keeping him at arm’s length.
Both these two ways of escaping God assume the lie that we cannot trust God’s commitment to our good. We think we have to force God to give us what we need.”
In conclusion, Pastor Keller states, the prodigal son tried to escape his father’s control through disobeying all his rules. However, the older brother obeyed all of his father’s rules in his attempt to escape control. Above all, neither son trusted his father’s love.
Today’s question: What Scriptures help diffuse any bigger problem you have with God? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “A storm attached to sin”