“God does not have a ‘love’ part and a ‘righteousness’ part that must be reconciled. What we see as being in tension is ultimately a perfect unity. However, that unity can be seen only in the light of the work of Jesus Christ. To be confused or angry at God is quite natural. But if we remain in that condition . . . it will be because we don not embrace the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ.”- Timothy Keller
Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 9 of The Prodigal Prophet with the observation that Jonah’s story exhibits both God’s goodness and severity in living color. Thus, on the one hand, Jonah receives grace upon grace. Yet Jonah literally ran away from the Lord. Rather than declare His Word.
Hence, at every point in the story, Jonah falls lower and lower. Lower, even, than the profane pagans around him. Still, God continues to save Jonah, show him patience, and work with him.
Thus, in Jonah we see God’s righteousness and love working together. Because God’s too holy and too loving to:
- either destroy Jonah or to allow him to remain as he is.
- allow us to remain as we are.
Finally, God poses one last question to Jonah. In essence, God asks Jonah to explain why he shouldn’t have compassion on Nineveh. In the light of all God’s shown Jonah, why shouldn’t He love that great city? As well as explain why he shouldn’t join God.
So, the book of Jonah ends without an answer from Jonah. In fact, commentator Sinclair B. Ferguson suggests that the book of Jonah forces us to contemplate our personal destiny. The unfinished ending allows us to provide our own conclusion. For all of us = Jonah.
In conclusion, Pastor Keller adds:
“It is as if God shoots the arrow at Jonah, but Jonah disappears, and we realize the arrow is aimed at us. How will you answer? . . . God calls us to apply this text to our own lives, in our own time and place.”
Today’s question: What Bible verses help you see God’s love and righteousness as a perfect unity? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Character assassination of God”