The story of Jonah illustrates the history of Israel, and the teaching of the chapter we have been studying together. Jonah, like Israel, was called by God to be a witness for Him to the Gentiles. He was disobedient to the divine call and sought to run away from God. In the trouble that resulted he was tossed into the sea and was lost for a time. His fall brought salvation to the mariners and God preserved him by preparing a fish to swallow him. Jonah repented in the belly of the whale, and when he acknowledged that salvation was of the Lord, he was resurrected out of his dreary tomb, and, at his preaching, all Nineveh repented.
Israel, though dead nationally, is preserved by God; through their fall, salvation has come to the Gentiles. When they repent and God restores them, they will fulfill their mission, and all nations will be blessed.
5. Israel’s Salvation Awaits The Completion Of The Church. vs. 25-27.
Here is something Paul wants us all to know. True it is a secret, for that is the meaning of the word “mystery,” but it is an open secret. The secret is twofold.
1. Israel’s blindness is limited.
2. The fulness, that is, “the full number,” of the Gentiles will come in. Then the Deliverer shall come out of Sion.
In vs. 25 we have the “coming in” of the redeemed. In vs. 26 we have the “coming out” of the Redeemer. The one is the rapture of the saints when the last one has been added to complete the number. What a “coming in” that will be through the open door of heaven. The other is the return of the Lord Jesus in glory. We will be with Him then, when He removes the vail from Israel’s eyes and they behold Him and own Him as their Messiah.
While the gospel train is speeding on to glory Israel is sidetracked. When we reach the station, they will move on with all the twelve tribes aboard, (for all Israel will be saved), into their haven of rest—the blessings of the kingdom.
6. The Mercy Of God Triumphs Over Israel’s Sin. Vs. 28-32.
When the chaplain of Frederick the Great was asked by the Emperor for a proof that the Bible was the Word of God he gave answer in one word—“Israel.” God chose that nation for the display of His wondrous works. “Of Israel it shall be said, What hath God wrought.” They have fallen into unbelief, but God has not given them up. He is shewing mercy to the Gentiles now and has allowed Israel to stand by so that He might shew mercy to them as well. It is like in the story of the Prodigal, in Luke 15. While the Father shewed mercy to the wayward son, the elder son stood aloof. Think of that Father going out in mercy to him and saying “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.” He did not deserve that.
7. The Glory Of God Is The Climax Of All His Ways. Vs. 33-36.
What a magnificent burst of praise closes the chapter. As we view all the ways of God in grace, we wonder with amazement at the wisdom that planned all, the power that wrought all, and the glory that crowns all. To Him be glory forever. Amen.
Many things may seem strange to us now. We cannot understand all His ways for they are past finding out, that is, “they cannot be tracked by footsteps,” but all will be in full view some day and then we shall know as we are known.
In the Capitol at Washington there is a large painting called “Westward Ho!” The first view one gets of it as you reach one of the platforms on the stairs ascending from the rotunda, is disappointing. It appears to be a miserable blur and you wonder why ever such a painting was allowed to find a place in the Capitol. But we climb higher and reach a station on a level with the painting and some distance from it. Here we linger and are entranced with the beauty of the picture as its harmonious blendings stand bright and clear before our vision. So what seems a blur to us now will be seen in the brightness of heaven’s glory beauteous indeed.
1. How does Jonah’s fall illustrate Israel’s?
2. What is the secret Paul would have us know?
3. When will the hope of Israel be realized?
4. What is the goal of all God’s ways and works?