Get the Fear

This morning we begin a 4 week series looking at the book of Jonah – a familiar story that has much to teach us about the sovereignty, and justice and mercy of God.  Jonah 1.

By way of background we need to be aware that Jonah ministered between 800-750BC during a time of relative peace for the northern kingdom of Israel. However a major threat from the north was posed by Assyria, whose intentions for domination of the region were obvious.

Jonah was a contemporary of Elisha, Amos and Hosea. Earlier in his career he had been used by God to bring good news to Israel, in particular he encouraged King Jeroboam to restore Israel’s borders to their former glory (2 Kings 14:25). I’m sure this positive prophet became popular in the royal court and no doubt enjoyed the good favour of the people as well.

However no sooner had Israel achieved the promised security than she began to gloat over her success and became exceedingly complacent about her favoured status with God (Amos 6:1). Religion became focused upon the Day of the Lord (Am 5:18-20) in which other nations would be engulfed in darkness while Israel basked in God’s light.

In any age what does God require of us? Continue reading

Advent 2: Preparing

Sermon preached for Advent 2, Sunday 9th December. Scripture readings: Malachi 3:1-4, Luke 3:1-6

The calendar tells me today is Sunday 9th Dec in the year of our Lord 2012. This particular year is almost done – 23 more sleeps and we will be in a new year.

This is a special season, anticipation, mounting excitement, to-do lists that get longer by the day, end-of-year office parties, club parties, street parties, families gathering.

The season of rising temperatures, roses blooming and cherries ripening.

The season of crowded shops, crying children, stressed mothers, oblivious fathers. Continue reading