Do we accept anything beyond our own concerns? Is there something about life besides us? Do we have ultimate concerns about something other than ourselves? Do we accept the concept of mystery in our lives? Various religions use different names for the transcendent mystery that goes beyond what we can understand. However, many religious traditions call this transcendent divine reality “God.” We, as human or finite, seek the great and the mysterious. This mystery stands as the foundation, the center, the purpose of human existence. God within a religious belief system contains the answer to the question of the meaning of life. What counts most? What is important for understanding and living? Is God the answer or the problem?
Jonah’s proclamation (Jon 3:4-3:4)
To go into the city,
Going a day’s walk.
He cried out.
‘Forty days more,
Shall be overthrown!’”
The text does not say how long it took Jonah to get there, but he was certainly in the city. He walked one day into the center of the city and began to cry out that Nineveh would be overthrown in 40 days. Forty days was a common biblical number, since Noah’s trip during the flood was 40 days, while the Israelites spent 40 years in the desert.
Against pagan practices (Isa 66:17-66:17)
“‘Those who sanctify themselves,
Those who purify themselves
In order to go into the gardens,
Follow the one in the center.
They eat the flesh of pigs.
They eat vermin.
They eat rodents.
They shall come to an end together.’
This probably should have followed the earlier remarks about pig’s blood. Yahweh once again points out that he is against these people who follow pagan practices. They sanctify and purify themselves to go into their gardens with the idols in the center. They end up eating pork, vermin, and rodents. They will all come to an end together.