I promise that my blog is not going to become the Phil Cary Appreciation Society, but let me indulge you once more with something from his Brazos commentary on Jonah. Regarding the first words of the book, “And the word of the LORD came to Jonah,” he writes:
As usual, Scripture has little interest in the experience by which the word speaks to us. But insofar as it is experienced at all, it is experienced as an external word, as something that comes to Jonah, quite other than the thoughts of his own heart and in fact quite unwelcome. There is no quest for God here, no attempt to demonstrate how knowledge of God is possible, and certainly no desire to experience God’s presence in our lives. The story proceeds as if the word of the LORD is unquestionably the most real thing in the world and that the rest of the universe can only catch up with its reality…
The problem of the book is not how we are to know God but how God is to deal with us and our more or less persistent efforts not to know him. Only a fool is capable of not knowing God—of hearing the word of the LORD and not believing it—and the LORD must deal with such fools somehow. From this book we learn how graciously the LORD deals with fools such as us.”
Friends, the man knows how to write!
1. Phillip Cary, Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible: Jonah (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2008), 29.