With Us or Them?

I am currently working on a project that is related to the book of Jonah. Here is some commentary on Jonah's attitude in chapter 4 that struck me as being particularly relevant to our day:

"It is always easier to assume that God is with us more than he is with our enemies. In war, how can God be on the side of the foe? Whether it was the time of the Assyrian Empire, the Babylonian Empire, or the Persian Empire (etc) those Israelites who heard or read the story of Jonah were all people who chafed under subjugation by a foreign power. Their natural tendency would be to presume that God was with them and not with their oppressors. But they could not confine God to serving their own interest! Jonah’s resentment at having his fears come true strikes at the complacency of the audience." 

Douglas Stuart, Word Biblical Commentary: Hosea-Jonah, vol. 31 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2014), 502.

Before too long, I will be posting a more detailed look at this idea of nationalism and political hegemony as it relates to God being with "us," and against "them."


David Russell said...

Hello Shaun and others,
Nationalism has become a buzz word since the current US election and Presidency of Donald Trump. This will be an interesting topic to read further perspective on. I have a dear friend of 40+ years who is quick to point out that God gave his Word to a people, community, individuals for the purpose of being carried out in community, etc. That may be the purest sense of nationalism. We "used" to say it as "One nation, under God." I think the events of 09/11 or natural calamities bring us together - but otherwise we seem as a people to treasure having our encampments. Suffice to say, I will be curious to read more.
By the way, I couldn't find contact info for you as I want to address a a topic with you a bit further off blog via your permission.
David Russell

S. Edwin Rufener said...

Hi David,

You are welcome to contact me. I apologize, I thought I had my email up. itsinthetext at gmail dot com.