Advent Reading: Jonah 4:2 (underlined below)

Promise Made | When God called Amos to prophesy that Assyria would come against Israel, He also called Jonah to preach revival in Assyria’s chief city, Nineveh [1]. Jonah – an Israelite – did not go easily. In fact, he jumped on a boat to flee. When his plans shipwrecked, however, he ended up in stormy waters and desperately cried to God for salvation – for although he knew that he was guilty, he also knew that God was a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love[2]. God answered by sending a fish to swallow him and, after three days in its belly, delivering him to preach in Nineveh – where the people repented and returned to God.

Promise Kept | About 700 years later, some leaders asked Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you” [3]. Jesus answered, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here” [4]. In fulfillment, Jesus died on the cross, stayed in the grave for three days, and rose again to reign in heaven.

Promise Meant | A person can no more survive in the belly of a great fish than that they can live again after three days in the grave. Yet, this was the point – God would do the extraordinary on behalf of His people. God delivered Jonah when he prayed (although his own disobedience had put him in harm’s way) and He saved the Ninevites when they repented (although their own evil deeds had set them against Him). Today, when we cry to Him, we receive even greater mercy because we have the blood and resurrection of Jesus as the ultimate sign of God’s grace.

Prayer | Lord, No matter what we’ve done, you hear our cries we turn to you in repentance. Therefore, help us to live in your mercy and grace, as we throw off our guilty consciences that have been sprinkled by Christ’s blood [5]. Amen.



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What are the non-advent readings for today? Hosea 6-8.



[1] See Amos 6:14; Jonah 1:1-2.  |  [2] Jonah 4:2 ESV  |  [3] Matt. 12:38 ESV  |
[4] Matt. 12:39-40 ESV  |  [5] See Heb. 10:19-39.