TAPE REVIEW: Jonah
by Norman Grubb
I must confess that when I chose this tape on Jonah by Norman Grubb, my mind automatically registered "Jonah and the Whale." You know the song, "Who did, who did, who did, who did, who did swallow Jo-Jo-Jonah"? We’ve heard the story since childhood: God told Jonah to go to Nineveh but he didn’t want to, so he ran away and got on a boat and a storm blew up and Jonah ended up in the water and then God had a big fish swallow him up and after living through that stink Jonah straightened up and went to Nineveh. Well, as I began listening to Norman talk, I was quickly convicted that my understanding of the history of Jonah was greatly limited.
As Norman moves through the passages of Jonah, he gives us some very important background about this prophet. He notes the important reason for Jesus using the example of Jonah (instead of Moses or Elijah) in his rebuking of the Pharisees in Matthew 12. He explains to us why Jonah was different from all the other minor prophets in the Old Testament. He then explores (you may be as surprised at this as I was) why Jonah’s reaction to God’s command to go to Nineveh was the most normal thing a man of God could have done in those days.
Norman shows how Jonah, even in his fleeing from his commission, continually remained a "man of faith," even as did Jesus, who prayed that God would "remove this cup" from him. Jonah never removed himself from God’s service; instead he was vehement in his belief that he was not the man to do this certain thing God was asking him to do. Norman described Jonah as "a servant of God who had a certain kink in his faith life." Norman then takes us through the evidence that proves Jonah was not in a backslidden state as he ran to Tarshish and boarded a boat.
Then a very significant blessing blew in with that great wind that God sent Jonah’s way. Do you know what happened to the crew after their boat was hit by the terrifying storm? The pleas they made to their gods weren’t answered, and the man who said he was a servant of the God of the sea told them to throw him into the churning waters. Norman points out that the first fruits of Jonah’s historical flight were the fates of the men on board the ship that day.
Next, God sends the famous fish. As Norman cleverly parallels these passages with our own lives, we see that we also have fish that God prepares to swallow us up. Out of these personal whale bellies, we, too, are pressed to cry to the Lord for Him to hear our voice. And will we, like Jonah, remain men and women of faith? As Norman tells the story, we see Jonah go through the "process of agony and the dying of the intercessor through whose dying and rising God is fulfilling His great purpose of grace." So Jonah, from the belly of the whale, sees his idolatry, sees the price he must pay for not going God’s way, and promises to make good his vows to God.
So everything’s okay now, right? Nope. But Jonah did all that God told him to, and his preaching to the Ninevites even brought about a great revival of repentance! True, but there’s still the problem of Jonah’s attitude. Here Norman shows us God’s personal dealing with Jonah–how God patiently enlightened Jonah to see His perfect purpose. Here we see the only account in Old Testament history in which God reveals his universal love purpose to an individual. Norman emphasizes the importance of this picture of salvation, which points ahead to the work of the coming Messiah. Just as God through Jonah brought about a national salvation, so God through Jesus brings about a world salvation.
So if you suspect that your under-standing of the book of Jonah might not be as complete as you desire, I can promise you that this tape of Norman’s will change that.
More Articles from The Intercessor, Vol 14 No 1
- What is this Human Self of Ours?
- Editor’s Note
- Moments with Meryl
- A Look at a Book
- Tony’s Testimony
- Zerubbabel Focus: Z Youth!
- British Conference Report
- Musings on the British Conference
- Bible Study: Undiscovered Self
- Body, Soul, and Spirit
- Questions & Answers
- Area Fellowship News: Boone
- The Mailbox
- Tape Talk
- New York Conference Report
- Youth Report: Fall Harvest in New York
- Anatomy of Unbelief
- Need–Evidence of Supply
- Words to Live By…