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Jonah Ch. 4 - A reminder to those of us living in "Gentile" nations....

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by JohnC, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. So.. What's the deal with the bush anyway? This Gourd vine that grows up out of nowhere? WHY is Chapter 4 even here in the book anyway?

    From Jonah 1-3 - we know Jonah had NO desire what-so-ever to preach repentance to this debauched, villainous, abusive, Idolatrous, abominable unclean Gentile nation.... They represented everything he hated.... But - he went and preached because he was faithful to God.... He preached what HE esteemed to be the least likely message that could ever work - "Ye Olde" 40 days and you get yours.... The message that had NEVER worked ONCE in the whole history of Israel..... AND Lo and Behold... One of the BIGGEST miracles of the ENTIRE Old Testament happens - an ENTIRE Gentile nation which could have been 1 to 3 MILLION people repents on pure SPECULATION that perhaps God would spare them....

    Then... There's the bush.... That dangling bit at the end of the story where Jonah is sulking and wishing that God would blast them into oblivion.... and God chides him about "Doing good"... What's that got to do with anything?

    WELL.. It turns out.... That vine is quite important to the real Story BEHIND the story... The part that they don't explain because it's unpleasant.... It doesn't fit into our normal "Good morals" stories.....

    God sets up an intentional comparison here.... A "Hebraism" so to speak.... Jonah and the Vine are compared with Israel and Nineveh.....

    Let's look at Jonah and the vine first - and unwind this a bit...
     
    Silk likes this.
  2. I've been thinking quite a lot about Jonah and Nineveh. God was warning of judgement coming to Nineveh and they actually stood still - listened - fasted - and repented. And they were saved for a generation. Until they returned to their old ways. Some say America is coming under judgement. No one is gathering, repenting, much less listening.
    Mat_12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here
     
  3. So....

    There was a gourd vine which sprouts up in a night, grows up onto his booth and it's leaves protect him... It thrives upon that which makes Jonah weak and as a result - he does not have to bear it himself.... And he rejoices and thanks God - not really because of the vine, but because of his own comfort that God has afforded him through the vine..... and when the worm comes and the bush dies - he has pity on the bush... Not because he actually cared about the bush for the sake of the bush, but because it is no longer there to protect him and give him comfort... He is now fully exposed to the forces which God brings to bear - and enduring WITHOUT the protection of this vine makes him faint...

    On the other hand - the Vine has no understanding of the things which actually destroy it... It has no understanding of the worm - yet Jonah knows exactly what the worm is, how it destroys, and WHAT to do to protect the vine from the worm.... The only thing that the vine perceives is that once it was strong and now it is weak.... Once it thrived in the sun, wind, and heat - and now, those same forces kill it....

    Now - let's go through the part where Nineveh is the Gourd vine and Israel is Jonah...

    That Israel can bring Nineveh to repentance - and thus protect Nineveh from destruction at God's hand.. In return - Nineveh will shield and provide comfort and rest to Israel against the things that God is bringing forth which would otherwise cause BIG problems for Israel... Forces which would literally wear out Israel....

    Nineveh is made strong and thrives on that which makes Israel weak and faint... They LOVE war... They LOVE conquest and battle... The LOVE strife that goes along with RULING the nations.... The things which drive Israel to distraction, wear her out, and make her weak.... On the other hand - Nineveh has NO understanding of that which destroys it... "The Worm" of Sin and debauched life so to speak.... All she will perceive is that once she was strong and now she is weak and dead....

    Israel does know all about "The Worm" of Sin on the other hand.... What it is, how to deal with it, how to root it out, etc... Israel KNOWS God's ways and understands the path of Righteousness....

    Refer back to Jeremiah 12:16.. Israel's role... "And it shall come to pass, if they (the Gentile nations) will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, The LORD liveth; as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built in the midst of my people."

    Christians - WE are in the same position here in our Gentile nations..... Just as Jonah and the vine... WE are receiving significant benefit from that which we did not work for in our own nations... We receive protection and comfort against that which weakens us and makes us faint..... BUT - Our nations truly do not understand that which makes them weak and destroys them "From the root".... It's become increasingly clear that this is true in America in particular - where our culture is "Drawing iniquity as with a cart rope" so to speak.... We forget that just as God provided Jonah the vine - so he has provided us OUR source of protection as well - the nation we currently live in...

    Are we going to do as Jonah at first and run away - HOPING on hope that "Those unrighteous will finally get theirs"... and forgetting that when THEY get theirs - THEY won't be there to support and protect us from all the things which are out THERE that will wear us out and make US weak....... THEY really truly have NO idea what they are bringing upon themselves... and it won't be pretty when it hits....

    Are we willing to give Jonah's task a swing? Step up to the plate and call them to repentance.... It's a LONG shot - but Jonah's odds at Nineveh were WAY worse...
     
    Arrie03, Abdicate and Silk says Amen and like this.
  4. I don't think "we" are willing to do the necessary work for many different reasons. We should pick a day in summer and gather, where we can, all over the world. To fast and pray for the world. Repent and return to God. Preach the simple basics. And warn the world enmass what will happen if we don't. Take my name - I'll be there.
     
  5. The church as a whole really isn't interested in trying to call them to repentance anymore... As with the message of Samson - first, we must be delivered from OURSELVES....

    We take for granted that there are physical, social, and health benefits that go along with God's ways.... and that "Turning from their Evil Ways" provides significant benefits even to a society which does not formally profess God.... AND - when that society thrives - WE Christians reap benefits of this...

    We take for granted that God can provide those benefits to us THROUGH a Pagan society.....

    Thanks
     
  6. This is an interesting take on the Jonah and the gourd. I'm curious as to where you got this teaching from.
     
  7. In my estimation, America has until Sept, 2015. It would be our one chance to show the world and reflect God's glory. I don't expect a miracle...well 2 miracles. That Christians could gather together for it and that all repent (including Christians).
     
  8. It really would take a miracle for the whole nation to repent. Has an entire nation the size of the USA ever repented in modern times?
     
  9. I don't know and do doubt the US would repent but as we are righteous in Christ and can pray for them, remember the lesson of Abraham and the 10 righteous men (and women).
     
  10. True, but God didn't always do things this way. God took the righteous people out of wicked nation then destroyed it as well.
    Also, God won't delay judgment on a nation forever either, even for the righteous.
     
  11. His pattern actually seems to be that He takes the righteous out of a nation/place when He wants to destroy it. He did it with Noah, He did it with Sodom and Gomorrah, and He will do it in the end with the whole world when He raptures His church.
     
    Abdicate likes this.
  12. I'm only talking about doing the "right" thing and reflecting God's glory out of love for Him and our brothers & sisters, whether believer or unbeliever. As a warning to both the lukewarm amongst us and as a warning to the world. His Will and plan will happen whatever we do - this is true but does that excuse us from issuing the warning?
     
    Mykuhl likes this.
  13. Not at all, we should be issuing a warning, not only is it our responsibility to do so but our hear should be moved to do so out of love.
     
  14. It's something we could do enmass, keeping it simple with no doctrinal argument. Stand up and be counted. It would get big media attention if so many would gather in each town and city. No collection plates...bring a lunch for you and three others (besides family). Like you said, @Mykuhl, out of love.
     
    Arrie03, Abdicate and Mykuhl says Amen and like this.
  15. Picking the worms out of the gourd vine....

    Repentance and Good works do have real, tangible benefit... There are Physical, Mental, and Emotional benefits to a society in addition to dodging the very real threat of Destruction at God's hand... Christians are taking this completely for granted in the societies we live in because we are so completely Inwardly focused - ONLY upon the "spiritual" that we completely ignore the fact that there are OTHER benefits to us that God provides as a byproduct of our Gentile nation's existence...

    Just as The Law has SIGNIFICANT benefit to Society that is simply earthly (Physical, mental, and emotional) - so do Good works done IN society... So for example - Even if a society does not become "Christian" per-se.. The practice of these "Judeo-Christian" values do PRODUCE significant benefit to that society... AND - these benefits may have much more lasting significance than we attribute to them...

    AND - Actual Christians reap the benefits of the Society practicing these virtues... Once again - WE reap OTHER benefits.... not simply Spiritual benefits - but also physical, mental, and emotional.... just as Jonah reaped benefits from the Gourd Vine - unintentional though they were on the part of the vine.... WE understand that these "Unintentional" benefits are in fact a Gift from God....

    For example - the Vine did not understand that it's greed for the sunlight increased Jonah's comfort... The vine did not understand that it's natural desire to climb and cover the top of his booth increased Jonah's comfort.... The vine did not understand that it's carrying water up high into it's leaves and then performing transpiration COOLED and relieved Jonah.... But God did .... and the vine's ignorance did not stop the Vine from PROVIDING Jonah those benefits...

    BUT - to do that, you gotta pick the worms out of the vine....... The vine doesn't understand it.. The vine has no provision to accomplish it... and it will destroy the vine if you don't do it....

    And just as a dead vine didn't provide any comfort to Jonah - we need to think about what happens when our own nation falls....
     
    Arrie03 and Silk say Amen and like this.
  16. #16 JohnC, Jun 11, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2015
    There are still consequences.....

    How did it work out for Lot? He lost everything he had except for his 2 daughters.... He holed up in a cave in the mountains out of fear that God would return to destroy the city of Zoar that he had hidden in during his flight.... "Righteous Lot" ended up drunk and tangled up in incest.... Fathering the nation of Moab - a constant thorn in the side of Israel....

    What happened to "the righteous" in The Northern kingdom when Assyria took it captive? The bible doesn't say except for promises to regather them.... Apparently they went captive as well..... The Northern Kingdom has never returned from captivity as such... They assimilated into the Gentiles and lost their heritage... There are some who suspect that some portion of Christians are made up of this remnant.... but there's really no way to know even if it was true - literally every single nation after Assyria took captives and scattered them - mixing them every which way throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.... Even the Turks persisted in this until 1918....

    What happened to the Righteous remnant of the Southern Kingdom when Babylon took it captive? They voluntarily went into captivity and spent at least 70 years there.... Some portion of them returned.... The Diaspora today is made up primarily of Jews displaced during the Babylonian captivity....
     
  17. I would expect we would be mocked and jeered at but that wouldn't bother me. I believe that faith iin large doses can move mountains or the world. There are always consequences to everything. If you act in righteousness - the consequences are good. And it is the one thing the true church can do. Warn the gourd we live on that it's infested with worms and snakes. And what to do about it.
     
    Arrie03 and Mykuhl say Amen and like this.
  18. It would be awesome if that would happen.
     
    Silk likes this.
  19. No one likes rejection which is probably why a lot of Christians don't preach (we're all called to do so) or they're ashamed of their weakness to hear the Spirit to speak the correct words at that moment. Just today, I asked a coworker if I could pray for his knee for him. He said no, that he knew what was wrong and I said that God made the universe He could fix it. He said it wouldn't matter. I was surprised he didn't want to be prayed for. So I didn't. It saddens me.
     
  20. See - that's where I am wondering what we can do too... Within the church - there is great pressure to divest ourselves totally out of politics.... I am sure a lot of this is precipitated from Envy from the other politicians who simply don't want the competition.... They don't like the competition - so they gin up scandal.... Talk about us being bigots and hate mongers and such.... BUT - what folks don't get is that this is simply a big lie meant to distract from the real issue at hand... It's meant to distract and weaken the resolve of the Righteous Men and Women who really CAN make a difference....

    Part of what I am thinking here.... The gourd vine has no understanding of worms that kill it.... It also has no provisions to rid itself of them.... AND - it doesn't understand what we are doing when we do it.... NEITHER does our nation understand any of this.... We may have to think about stepping up to the plate - getting involved and starting the process of "Picking out the worms" so to speak... Not just talking about the worms....

    One of the ways we can do this is to encourage the God fearing politicians... They need to HEAR that WE see through the lies and we know the truth... We understand that Rule is difficult, and the decisions are not always straight forward as we would like - but we stand with them to do the right things.... And let's be clear what we expect those right things are.... That "Lawful behavior" and "Good works" really ARE important to our society.... and that they do provide LARGE, tangible benefit to Society at large in real life here and now.... And that through this - WE as Christians will receive real, tangible benefit that we completely take for granted....

    To illustrate.... Think about Saddam Hussein in Iraq... Universally accepted as an evil man.... Ruled with an iron fist..... and while Christian life there certainly was not easy - look at it now.... Look at what has happened since that "vine" died? All of a sudden - the "Hot sun and vehement east wind" has descended upon the Christians there - and they are literally being WORN OUT... Extinguished.... Looking back upon how this happened - what worries me is the "Conservative Christians" in the USA did not discern the likely effects of Saddam being destroyed upon our Christian Brothers there while the discussion was going on BEFORE we went to war... Instead - we cheered it on.... More recently - we have seen the SAME things happen to Christians in Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria...... We stand there cheering the destruction of the evil men ruling those nations - and we don't discern that we are literally ruining the lives of our brothers there.....

    and let's face it - until Jesus personally reigns... Until the END of the times of the Gentiles.... WE will have to put up with this - we have to understand this...

    Thanks
     

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