One of the primary ways the church advances the kingdom of God is through corporate prayer. And when God’s people gather at the throne of grace, they shouldn’t limit their prayers to the elect. They should pray for all people. Why? Because there’s a wideness in God’s mercy. While his special grace secures the repentance of some, his common grace solicits the repentance of many.1 Thus, there’s a real sense in which our heavenly Father desires, provides for, and pursues the salvation of all people. Such a big-hearted God calls for big-hearted prayers.
Paul begins his first letter to Timothy by issuing a warning against false teachers (1:3-7). While scholars debate the precise identity and nature of the heresy, it seems that it bore some relation to Judaism. In particular, the teachers appear to have pushed the notion that the “law” or torah was only for a particular class of people, i.e., “the just” (1:8-9). Hence, they taught a kind of “Judaizing exclusivism.” The gospel isn’t for all; it’s only for some.2
Jonah is “a paradox: a prophet of God, and yet a runaway from God: a man drowned, and yet alive: a preacher of repentance, yet one that repines at repentance.”1
In the early part of Joash’s reign, Jonah prophesied the restoration of Israel’s northern borders lost in wars with Syria and a time of prosperity and safety that would follow to rival the nation’s former greatness.2 However, in her prosperity, Israel became complacent and arrogant thinking that they alone were the people under the divine favor and no other nation was so esteemed (Amos 9:7) by the Living God (Amos 6:1-8).
Exasperated with Israel’s unfaithfulness, God sent prophets to declare judgment against Israel warning them that He would use the Assyrians, whose capital city was Nineveh—a feared nation known for its cold-blooded barbarity—to punish and expel Israel from the land because of her sins (Hos. 9:3, 10:6, 11:5; Joel 1:6,7; Amos 9:11). In this setting God called Jonah to preach judgment against “Nineveh the great city for their wickedness” (NASB, Jon. 1:2). However, Jonah decided to make a run for it in the direction opposite Nineveh.
A sermon delivered on Sunday, May 20, 1855 by C.H. Spurgeon at Exeter Hall.
“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”—Isaiah 43:25
"Who is God? If we could pick only one passage from the Old Testament to answer that question, it would be hard to improve upon Exodus 34. God is revealing himself to Moses, causing his glory to pass by Moses, whom God has put in a cleft in the rock (33:22)." - WORLD
"'When basic long-term needs are not being met—food, shelter, safety, nurturing, etc.—young people will begin to think only short-term,' Kelly said, adding that Christians 'need to advocate for a proportional response that balances society’s need for accountability with restoration, forgiveness, and most of all, genuine understanding.'" - WORLD
I feel like I’m way out of sync. For me, 2020 was a year of unexpected blessing. Though some of what follows is probably in the category of self-indulgent (and boring) oversharing, I mostly mean it as an expression of thankfulness for undeserved mercies.
In 2020, my work conditions improved a lot, as did the commute (home office!). At the same time, my work relationships—my connectedness to my peers—also improved, the reverse of what’s supposed to happen in a work-from-home dynamic.
I understand the “face to face is best,” bromide. It’s often true. In our case, our office already operated as a satellite of the main company facility pre-COVID, and all our involvement with company goings-on was remote. But it was awkward, low-tech., traditional remote. A single laptop and projector in one conference room connected with a similar set up out east. You couldn’t hear half the time. People laughed at jokes you missed. Meetings bred a sense of alienation rather than connection.
COVID pushed us all to Zoom and MS Teams and, just like that, we were interacting face to face. We could see and hear each person equally well—and be heard and seen equally well also. For us, Zoom meetings were a huge step forward in personal interaction.