Expounding The Meaning Of Jonah 2:8-9 – Talking Christianity

The Mercy Of God:

Mercy Of GodThe mercy of God speaks volumes in the life of a believer in Christ. The life of a believer cannot be voided of the mercy of God. Though the believer does not have what takes to overcome, the mercy of God is there to take him along. In several occasions in the scriptures, God is referred to as ‘the merciful God’ because mercy proceeds from Him. Fundamentally, the mercy of God is poured out for everyone existing on the face of this earth daily. The writer of the book Lamentation puts it this way;

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Lamentation 3:22-23

The verse above stipulates that “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.” This implies that the LORD’s mercies deliver people from total destruction as a result of His compassion which never fails. Now this is not a onetime attitude from God but something that is being renewed every morning.

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The implication here is that God’s mercy is renewed on a daily bases with recurring effects. The writer of Lamentation echoed something significant and that is ‘because His compassion fail not’. This is interesting because the renewal of His mercies every day is hitched on His compassion. The above statements indicate that the mercy of God is a constant thing and no one should say it is not available.

Mercy Of God Is Not Purchased:

It also means that one cannot receive God’s mercy by offering Him sacrifice(s). Let’s see what Jesus said in the gospel of Matthew;

“But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.”

Matthew 12:7

The mercy of God therefore is that benevolent character of God that is independent of man’s contribution. God doesn’t offer His mercy to man because man has done something better or wrong rather because He is God and it’s His character to be merciful. For this reason, God’s throne is called the throne of mercy. The only thing one obtains from the throne of God is mercy. The only way God’s mercy can elude someone is when he or she starts observing lying vanities. A prophet called Jonah puts it better this way;

“They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.”

Jonah 2:8

The NIV bible puts it this way: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs”. Jonah echoed this because he knew that it is in God’s character to be merciful but as many that will not cling on Him definitely forsakes their own mercy.

Elucidating on 2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s not that God didn’t offer them His mercy but they exclude themselves from His mercy by observing lying vanities. The implication here is that they didn’t focus their hearts on God but on idols. Therefore, those who have chosen to worship idols have decided not to obtain the mercy of God though the mercy of God is there for them to obtain.

Those Who Worship Idols Forsake The Mercy Of God:

Idols are those things that have replaced God in people’s hearts. The danger in this is that even believers in Christ can be entangled in this act. The believer’s heart should be cling on Jesus and not on anything else. When a believer finds himself in a situation, his trust should rest on Jesus not in any tangible thing.

Any believer having trust in a tangible material thing is an idol worshipper though he claim to believe in Christ. It is pertinent here to say that God’s mercy is encapsulated in Christ. So, interestingly, the only place a believer can locate God’s mercy is in Christ. The mercy of God is obtainable in Christ and not Christ plus anything! Aptly, Christ plus anything is idol worshipping. It is either Jesus Christ only or nothing!

The mercy of God is not obtainable by observing and using physical ordinances, like salt and water, olive oil (aka anointing oil), handkerchief (aka mantle), bread and wine (aka holy communion), family sand etc. Let’s see how Apostle Paul puts it in his epistle to the Colossians below

“Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using) after the commandments and doctrines of men?”

Colossians 2:20-22

Physical Ordinances Perishes With The Using:

The above mentioned physical ordinances perish with the using. If anyone applies oil (olive oil) when he takes bath, he or she washes it away. When you take bread and wine you have to excrete them out. The only thing that will cannot perish with the using is the words of Christ and any believer that clings on them will not forfeit his mercy in God!

Prophet Jonah understood later on that the mercy of God is located the words that God spoke to him. But for him to have gone out on his way and not the way of God means he has to forfeit his mercy. The realization of this made him to start offering God thanksgiving and in it he declared that ‘salvation of God’. This every believer should cling on!

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