Tim Keller | August 19, 1990
We’ve seen that when Jonah was called to preach in the great city of Nineveh, he refused and fled from God. God sent a storm to reclaim him, and he was thrown over the side of the boat into the ocean. There, he was swallowed by a great fish. Then in the belly of the deep, Jonah prays a prayer of faith, and he grasps the grace of God.
We’re going to look, not so much at the subject or topic of the prayer, but the phenomenon of the prayer itself. How did Jonah, who was in this condition of utter despair, of cowering fear, and of rebellion… How did he come from that position to a posture of triumphant faith by the end of the prayer? The answer is that faith rose up, and it brought with it Jonah’s heart. We’ll see his faith that he exercised was done in three stages. First, he calls, then he remembers, and finally he commits.
Despite feeling lost and rebellious, Jonah’s prayer turns into a victorious show of faith. This is something we all can relate to – when we feel we’re falling short of our goals. But faith isn’t about skill, it’s about trusting God’s promises over our own feelings, which helps us rise above our problems. Jonah’s faith acts like a guide for us, showing us how to react with faith in any situation, moving past our problems to find solid ground.
Our faith journey begins when we call out to God during hard times, seeking His glory. It’s important to question our doubts. After all, many brilliant people have come to accept Christianity as truth. From biblical characters like Jonah and Job, we learn that even when we’re questioning and complaining, we can restore our faith through prayer.
The temple stands for salvation and God’s rules, showing us His character and guiding us towards His greatness, like a conductor leads a musician. Following these rules is key to living in harmony and fellowship. The temple’s hilasterion (or mercy seat) represents Jesus’ sacrifice for us, fulfilling the law. Faith requires us to actively engage with the truth, think deeply, and remember our identity and purpose, even when we’re in doubt or darkness.
Our faith journey starts when we reach out to God and continues with deep thinking and reminding ourselves of the truth. It requires us to give everything to God, even when we’re unsure, and it grows stronger with knowledge and dedication. By regularly reflecting on the gospel, we can create a community that heals, acts ethically, and shows compassion, overcoming our pride and laziness to become more welcoming and patient.
February Book Offer
In his book Counterfeit Gods, Tim Keller shows us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the truth about societal ideals and our own hearts — and that there is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings and fulfill our hopes.
February Book Offer