Entry Eighty-Eight: Jonah, Hosea, & Uzziah

Submitted by johnlo on Thu, 2008-06-19 07:41

 

 

ENTRY EIGHTY-EIGHT – JUNE 17, 2008

 

88-THE DIVIDED KINGDOM - PART VIII (aka "The Preaching of Jonah, the Prophecy of Hosea, and the Beginning of the Reign of Uzziah") II Kings 13:5-6, 14:18ff; II Chronicles 25-26; Jonah; Hosea

 

  • This entry, which covers four days of reading, touches on topics such as SAYING NO TO GOD, SEEKING THE REWARDER, NOT THE REWARD, SEEING GOD AS OUR HUSBAND, and NEEDING ONE ANOTHER. sorry this was late again...just got back from Indonesia where i had very irregular internet access...sorry if this messed up your reading program...

 

  • Please note that since I am following F. LaGard Smith's order, I will be jumping back and forth between the Kings and Chronicles texts frequently and I normally won't refer to the specific passage unless it affects the meaning.

 

  • According to Dr. Smith (in his Narrated Bible), Jonah’s ministry took place between the reigns of two famous rulers of Assyria, Shalmaneser III and Tiglath-Pilaser II.  God told the prophet, Jonah, to go and preach to the Ninevites that they should repent! Ninevah was an ancient and large city – not a place very open to preaching repentance, according to the conventional wisdom of the day, but then again, when has God ever been conventional!! This account is an awesome demonstration of God’s love to everyone, in a time when the Hebrews were not really trying to reach out to others. In fact, their lack of righteousness made them worse off in God’s eyes than their pagan neighbours!!

 

  • Going through the book of Jonah, for an old Christian, is like looking into the mirror.  Most of us have heard God’s call some where along the way and turned the other direction, or at least made excuses. “Be loving to that guy? No Way! He hurt me!” “Talk to my boss about God? You’ve got to be kidding!” “Lead a small group? Are you crazy?” “Be in charge of an event for the church? You’ve got the wrong guy!”  Or even, “You honestly think I should forgive her? Not on your life! She thinks saying sorry makes up for all my pain? She doesn’t deserve forgiveness!”
  • All these are ways that we say NO to God. Perhaps we don’t jump onto the nearest ship sailing in the other direction, but metaphorically speaking, it is the same thing. The beautiful thing about the story of Jonah is how loving God is – His love for the lost Ninevites is beautiful and his love for Jonah is beautiful. After all, God could have let Jonah die in the storm and found another prophet! But instead, he loved Jonah enough to help him repent. We must be grateful for the hard times, knowing that often that is how God changes our hearts and leads us to repentance!

 

  • Ironically, Jonah was “fruitful” in his disobedience! The sailors all believed, and offered sacrifices to Jehovah and made vows to him! Way to go, Jonah! Reminds me of the story that Shawn Wooten told about the guy from Eastern Europe who tried to fall away and when he went to his hometown, his old friends begged him to teach them how to become disciples, and they ended up starting a church!

 

  • Jonah’s prayer in chapter two is a prayer of humility and surrender and praise. (Don’t forget our memory verse from the Ascent to Truth class – “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”)

 

  • Later Jonah did obey, he did preach, the Assyrians did repent, and then, for some reason, Jonah got a bad attitude. Perhaps he just didn’t love the people with whom he was sharing. Or Perhaps he was worried that the prophecy (of their destruction) wouldn’t come through (since they repented) and so he was angry/resentful that he would look bad! “Ha ha – that guys prophecy didn’t come true!” Whatever the reason for Jonah to be upset, the phrase, “It’s not about you” comes to mind! Sometimes we do our acts of righteousness with a hidden agenda – what will WE get out of it? And then, when we don’t get what we expect, we grumble with bitterness in our hearts. Examine your motives – Why do you have Quiet Times? Why are you nice to your spouse? Why are you a charitable giver? SEEK THE REWARDER, NOT THE REWARD! (I got that from Ron Drabot eons ago…) True happiness comes when we are doing things for God because we want to and for his glory!

 

  • The book ends with God showing concern for people and teaching us to do the same.

 

  • The prophesies of HOSEA are part of a visual aide from God so that Israel (and we today) might view Him as our husband rather than as on old man up in the sky. God wanted Israel to feel the pain of separation that comes when someone sends his/her adulterous spouse away. He wanted them to see it in person, and for the prophet talking about it to be very familiar with the emotion, so he caused Hosea to take a wife that would commit adultery and “be Israel” in an allegorical sort of way. God even had Hosea give the children names that signify how God was casting Israel away. As usual, God ended chapter one and two with sweet promises for the future, but this time, as seen in the beginning of chapter two, Israel would suffer for the infidelity. Hosea literally bought his wife back from slavery after she left him, to signify how God would eventually buy back his people from their slavery to sin. Reading this out loud and putting yourself in Hosea's / God's place will lead to quite an emotional time with Him!

 

  • Chapter four contains a scathing rebuke of useless and negligent leadership, which is a good rebuke to be reminded of in this day and age. Chapters 5-9 are basically a lamentation of Israel’s sin, idolatry and lack of reliance on God, while chapter 10 is a prediction of captivity for the Hebrews.  One particularly beautiful verse is “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and bread up your unplowed ground, for it is time to seek the Lord.” In chapter 10-13, we see God’s hesitance to punish Israel, since He loved her so much, but then he recites the sins again, almost as if to remind himself how much they deserve to be punished. The book closes out in chapter fourteen, with a promise of forgiveness.  I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.” This is a great verse to cling to when feeling far from God. If we make the decision to repent, he is already there!

 

  • Unfortunately, Israel didn’t respond to these touching words, and continued in idolatry. At the same time, King Amaziah of Judah was assassinated by his followers for turning away from God and his 16 year old son, Uzziah, was made king in his stead. Uzziah built up industries for Judah and trained the military to become a powerful force and his fame spread far and wide.  II Chronicles 26:4-5 gives a fair summary of Uzziah, “He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.  Uzziah, sometimes known as King “Azariah”,  is yet another example of a powerful king who was close to God as long as he had good advisors (we’ll read more about the bad times in a future entry). As if we needed more proof that God has always worked through the “One Another” system!

 

karenlouis@seachurches.org