Have you ever been in a position in your career when things were going just great and you wouldn’t change a thing? Your job as CEO is going well or your church where you pastor is growing in all the right ways as a result of God working through your faithfulness to His Word. What would you do or say if God told you to quit your plush job at your fortune 500 company for an entry level management position at a no name company because He wanted you to turn it around and be a witness to the other employees there? What would you do or say to God is He told you to resign from your senior pastorate position at a large growing church to start a church in the Arizona desert in a small no name town?
This is the kind of situation we find Jonah in. In his most recent book, Jonah: Navigating a God-Centered Life, Colin S. Smith takes us through the book of Jonah as we see how Jonah responded to God’s call in his life to leave his successful ministry among Israel in his hometown of Gath Hepher for a less than desirable ministry of evangelism in Ninevah among Israel’s most feared enemies. As Smith observes, Jonah “was living his dream until, one day, God interrupted his life” (p. 16).
It is this divine interruption that reveals the heart of Jonah towards God and others. Jonah was not pleased with God’s will for his life, and so much so, that he tried to run the other way from God. As the book of Jonah unfolds, we see a successful prophet of God acting like the very pagans God has sent him to minister to and call to repentance. As it turns out, Jonah had some repenting of his own that he needed to do. As God wanted to pursue the Ninevites through Jonah, God pursued Jonah as well.
Jonah, though a short commentary on a short book, is packed with exegetical, historical, practical and pastoral insight. Though it is easy to look at Jonah and say how could he act in such a way to God, careful and honest readers will quickly see that none of us are much different when put into the same situations in our own lives. The response of Jonah to God is a mirror into the depths of our own hearts and what it reveals is often not pretty
Jonah is an excellent book for personal or group devotions and will serve all Christians alike.
NOTE: I received this book from Christian Focus Publications and was under no obligation to provide a favorable review. The words expressed in this review are my own.