by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: Jonah 1:1-4:11; Proverbs 29:26-27
READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Jonah 1:14 “Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you”
The sailors were fearful of the Lord, for He has shown His mighty power by causing a mighty tempest on the sea. When the lot fell upon Jonah that he was the cause of the Lord’s work on the sea; Jonah advised the sailors that they should throw him overboard so that the tempest will cease. Despite of their fears, the sailors did not immediately abandon Jonah to save their own lives, instead they tried to out-row the tempest. Only when they found it impossible to go against the power of God, that they relent. Even then, they pleaded with God to have mercy for they thought that Jonah would perish.
The sailors’ fear of the Lord stands as a great irony against how Jonah felt about God’s calling for him to go and warn the people of Nineveh. Jonah was just one person, yet the sailors were feeling very guilty and fearful of possibly causing the loss of his life. However, this so called prophet, who knew that God is a compassionate God, was so hardened of heart due to personal bias that he fled from bringing the Gospel message to a perishing city that housed more than 120,000 persons (Jonah 4).
As a prophet, Jonah knew what God would do if he were to go to Nineveh to ask of the city to repent. Yet, he chose not to because later on, the prophet revealed that he had never wanted that evil city to be saved. Knowing God for who He is does not equate to obedience. I can learn and understand many things about God’s character and His Word as a pastor through my theological education, service in ministry, witness of signs and wonders, and meditations through Scripture; but that does not make me a faithful servant of His will. I can only be a faithful servant of the Lord if I were to follow God’s desires despite my personal bias or preferences. Obedience to God has little to do with how much we know; instead like the sailors, it is usually about how much we worship, adore and fear Him.
Lord our God, help me to worship, adore and fear You so that I can align myself in accordance to Your precious will. Amen.
by Rev Joel Yong
As a scribe, Ezra was an expert in Moses’ Teachings, which the LORD God of Israel had given. The king gave Ezra everything he requested because the LORD his God was guiding him.
I wonder what he asked for?
Mansion? Fast Chariot?
But then again that is what a person pursuing pleasure would ask for.
What would a person pursuing God ask for?
Here is a clue to what motivated Ezra-
Ezra was determined to study the LORD’s Teachings, live by them, and teach their rules and regulations in Israel.
He was fueled by a passion for the Word.
To learn it, live it and teach it.
Because he yearned not for pleasure but for holiness- God gave him the desires of his heart.
His heart was after all, in the right place.