With God on Mission: Unfaithful Israel @Night

There are some stories in the Bible that are easier to remember than others. Stories about Floods & Arks, Towers that reach to the heavens, divinely sent Fish to swallow men – it’s these stories that we pass down to our kids and teach with affection because of the attachment that we’ve had with them growing up. We pass them down because of their redeeming values and the way it helps shift our child-like understanding of who God is, to a bigger, more inclusive awareness of the Divine.

If, however, we only look at these stories as nothing more than some events that have happened somewhere else, some other time, we can easily miss the enduring ministry that has been at work all along through the prophets. Prophets like Jonah. You can look at Jonah’s story and remember fondly the story of how God sent a huge fish to swallowed him up, or you can go deeper, in the awareness that we are all Jonah, in the understanding that we are all on a trajectory, we are all running, we are all being chased, we are all called to something bigger and more expansive. Maybe even into forgiveness.

For generations the Assyrians invaded, marched against, laid siege to, and even deported the people of Israel. Who could forgive a people like this? What kind of God would knowingly and wilfully step into human history to forever change the hearts of a people so wicked? What kind of God would expect an Israelite of all people to take this message to them? The story of Jonah reveals a remarkable step forward in human consciousness, as they wrestled with forgiveness, and shows a pivotal moment in human history where mankind steps into the emergent power of forgiveness with all of the ambiguity and uncertainty and precariousness that comes with it.

God has never been just about one people group. He has always had a higher view of humanity, with the restoration and continued hope of all mankind in mind. Just as he revealed his heart for the people of Ninevah through Jonah, He wants us all to see His heart. Join with Lead Pastor Stuart Starr, and the NewLife@10 service as we go into the depths of the belly of the fish, to find that even when we are at the end of ourselves, He is there.


[bible passage=”Jonah 1-2″ heading=”h3″]


[bible passage=”Jonah 3-4″ heading=”h3″]

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The sermons from our weekly series at NewLife Anglican Church in Oran Park, Sydney, Australia. Sermons are preached by Lead Pastor Stuart Starr, Senior Assistant Pastor Geoff Leader and Kids, Youth and Families Pastor Michael Mak. Subscribe on iTunes below.