The story is told of a devout father whose son was studying for the ministry and had chosen to pursue an advanced degree in Europe. The father was concerned that his son would lose his confidence in the Scriptures by the likely liberal leanings of European university professors. “Don’t let them take Jonah away from you,” he said, thinking an anti-supernatural worldview would lead to a dismissal of the Book of Jonah as an historical account.
After two years studying in Europe, the son returned and his father promptly asked him, “Do you still have Jonah in your Bible?” The son laughed and said, “Jonah! That story isn’t even in your Bible!” “It most certainly is!” replied the father. “What do you mean?” The son challenged him. “It is not in your Bible. Go ahead, show me where it is.” Well, the father thumbed through his Bible and for the life of him could not find the Book of Jonah! He resorted to the table of contents, found the page number for Jonah, turned there and to his surprise, the Book of Jonah had been carefully cut out of his Bible! “I did it before I went away,” said the son. “What’s the difference whether I lose the Book of Jonah through a liberal education of you lose it through neglect?”
We come to the Book of Jonah and its familiar story. While most mainstream Biblical scholars take the story of Jonah to be a fictional parable we will approach it as an historical account simply because Jesus seems to have done so. It is a rich story full of theological and personal lessons and applications. We would indeed be impoverished if we neglected this book!
Pray: Before you dive in Jonah’s story, take time to ask the Lord to fulfill II Timothy 3:16 for you.
Read: Read all four chapters of the Book of Jonah.
Meditate: The focus of our meditation this week will be on part one of Jonah’s two-part story.