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Christina Abad - Jonah
Christina Abad - Jonah
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Lyrics

“Song of Jonah” by Christina Abad

I’ll speak You’re Name to the ones in flames
But God forbid me called to the sinner saved
Guard my head from the cold, dark depths
Deliver me into Your glory
God forsake those unholy

Oh my hands are filled and tainted
But chosen, freed by You
From the lowest point You’ve beckoned
My stubborn heart to truth
Look on now at my brothers
I know their wicked hearts
Slow to change, oh I know it
Too far gone for a new start

Don’t waste Your time
I know they’re wicked
Don’t waste Your breath
Their futures lost
A waste you’ll see
Then Come and find me
I’ll be sitting by the cross

Let the waves come down and crush me
Till my sins be forgot
Oh water come and take me
I can pay for what it cost
Grace comes down saves and takes me
Up and out from my grave
Saved to preach a different gospel
Than the one from which I came

Don’t waste your time
You know your wicked
Don’t waste your breath
Your futures lost
A waste you’ll see
Then come and find me
I’ll be sitting by the cross
… My need of it I know not

Hear my tale, oh my children
Mother for me weep
For so goeth the prophet
Who speaks but does not see

The artist: Christina Abad

The narrative of Jonah is simple. It can be read completely in just a few minutes. Apart from some unfamiliar places any reader can easily understand it. Hiding behind this simplicity, however is a depth of intentionality and structure.

The narrative of Jonah is simple. It can be read completely in just a few minutes. Apart from some unfamiliar places any reader can easily understand it. Hiding behind this simplicity, however is a depth of intentionality and structure. When we unearth some of its literary features, the message of Jonah becomes all the more striking.

Jonah is a book of patterns. Jonah went down to Joppa (1), down into the hold of the ship (2), and down
to the depths of the sea (3). God hurled a storm (4), the sailors hurled the cargo (5), and Jonah called them to hurl him as well (6). The people of Nineveh turn from their wickedness and God turns from judgment (7). God sent Jonah because of the evil of Nineveh, the sailors cast lots because of the evil of the storm, the king called everyone to turn away from their evil, God relented from the evil he had planned for Nineveh, Jonah saw God’s mercy as evil and God made a plant to save Jonah from his evil (8). The entire book breaks into two acts which follow the same pattern: God commands Jonah to arise and go to Nineveh, Jonah responds, Gentiles repent, Jonah speaks with God.

Jonah is also a book of contrast. To begin with, Jonah is contrasted with all the prophets. The continual pattern of God said, “go” and the prophet went is broken. God tells Jonah to arise and Go to Nineveh, and he arose and went to Tarshish. Jonah is contrasted with nature. The wind, the fish, the plant, the worm all obey God’s command (9) but Jonah does not. Jonah is contrasted with the sailors who cry out to their gods in the storm while he merely sleeps (10). Jonah is contrasted with Nineveh who respond to his short 8 word sermon immediately and completely (11). Finally Jonah is contrasted with God, who has a heart of compassion and cares for the people of Nineveh.

Jonah is also meant to be a book of comparison. The ending of Jonah, with God asking an unanswered question (12), seems abrupt. What happened to Jonah? How did he answer the question? We are not told. The question intentionally is left open for us to answer.

We like Jonah are just as disobedient as others and yet we demand God show us mercy and give them what they deserve. We like Jonah want to experience God’s grace and yet don’t allow it to change us, and seek to deny God’s grace to those who are changed by it. We like Jonah often don’t reflect God’s heart to others and settle for obeying on the outside while we’re angry on the inside.

Jonah is a book of hope. Who wrote the book of Jonah? Who could have known the intimate details of Jonah’s prayer in chapter 2 or his argument with God in chapter 4? The most likely candidate is Jonah himself, but why would he write such a humiliating autobiography?

It seems that Jonah eventually awoke to the reality
of his sin, and that writing his story was part of his repentance. God didn’t send Jonah to Nineveh just to change Nineveh, he sent Jonah to Nineveh to change Jonah. It is true that God cares for those who we would write off as being too evil and is committed to seeing them change, but even more surprising he cares for us and is committed to our change as well.