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1 Yahweh spoke his word to Jonah, son of Amittai. He said, 2 “Leave at once for the important city, Nineveh. Announce to the people that I can no longer overlook the wicked things they have done.”
3 Jonah immediately tried to run away from Yahweh by going to Tarshish. He went to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. He paid for the trip and went on board. He wanted to go to Tarshish to get away from Yahweh.
4 Yahweh sent a violent wind over the sea. The storm was so powerful that the ship was in danger of breaking up. 5 The sailors were afraid, and they cried to their gods for help. They began to throw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship’s load.
Now, Jonah had gone below deck and was lying there sound asleep. 6 The captain of the ship went to him and asked, “How can you sleep? Get up, and pray to your El. Maybe he will notice us, and we won’t die.”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Let’s throw dice to find out who is responsible for bringing this disaster on us.” So they threw dice, and the dice indicated that Jonah was responsible.
8 They asked him, “Tell us, why has this disaster happened to us? What do you do for a living? Where do you come from? What country are you from? What nationality are you?”
9 Jonah answered them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship Yahweh, the God of heaven. He is the Elohim who made the sea and the land.”
10 Then the men were terrified. They knew that he was running away from Yahweh because he had told them. They asked Jonah, “Why have you done this?”
11 The storm was getting worse. So they asked Jonah, “What should we do with you to calm the sea?”
12 He told them, “Throw me overboard. Then the sea will become calm. I know that I’m responsible for this violent storm.”
13 Instead, the men tried to row harder to get the ship back to shore, but they couldn’t do it. The storm was getting worse.
14 So they cried to Yahweh for help: “Please, Yahweh, don’t let us die for taking this man’s life. Don’t hold us responsible for the death of an innocent man, because you, Yahweh, do whatever you want.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the sea became calm. 16 The men were terrified of Yahweh. They offered sacrifices and made vows to Yahweh.[a]
17 Yahweh sent a big fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
His name means: "A Dove"
His work: He was a northern kingdom prophet.
His character: Jonah must have been a gifted communicator. Why else would God choose him to preach repentance and grace to the pagan city of Nineveh? But Jonah was a proud man, a rebellious prophet, suicidal and a sulker. Yet, God still uses him to transform and change a whole nation, from the King all the way down.
His sorrow: Jonah was sad that the Ninevites had repented and that God had granted them mercy. Jonah would have preferred seeing these pagans punished for their sinfulness.
His triumph: That God had spared his life from the belly of the fish.
Key Scriptures: The book of Jonah; Matthew 12:38-41
Prophets often scandalized God's people, ill-prepared as they were to hear the unvarnished truth about their spiritual condition. But in Jonah's case, it was the prophet who was scandalized, not by another prophet, but by God himself. For one day he heard God issue an incredible command: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because its wickedness has come up before me."
Could God possibly mean it? It was one thing to endure mockery and ridicule from your own people whenever you preached repentance, but going to the capital city of Assyria was dangerous, perhaps deadly. The Ninevites, after all, were a violent and ruthless people who had already brutalized many Israelites. What's more, Jonah despised them. So, like a rebellious teenager, he ran away, except that he wasn't fleeing his parents, he was running from the Creator of the universe.
But, as Jonah soon discovered, you can't outrun God. Instead, he found himself surrounded by the entrails of a great fish. There in the darkness, Jonah was ready to pray.
"In my distress, I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help and you listened to my cry…. You brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God…. Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good."
From inside the fish, Jonah was calling his fear, his defiance, his pride, and his willful disobedience by a new name: "idols." And he was identifying the ship, the storm, and the fish as something they had never been called before: "grace." And once Jonah acknowledged these truths, God gave him another chance to obey, and the great fish vomited Jonah onto dry land. Even though Nineveh was probably more than five hundred miles away, Jonah headed for the city.
In the same way, he had prepared the fish to swallow the prophet, God prepared the people for Jonah's message. "The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth to show their sorrow for their sin."
But now, instead of rejoicing at the way God had used him, Jonah acted like a spoiled child. Although he had taken God's message to the Assyrian capital city, he had no mercy for the people himself. He would have much rather watched Nineveh burn than have seen its people repent and avert God's judgment. He believed God's gift of grace belonged exclusively to his own countrymen.
How little did Jonah perceive the nature and intentions of the living God for whom he spoke? His running and his sulking demonstrate how little he understood about God's great compassion and his desire to forgive anyone who repents of his or her sins.
Reflect On: Jonah 1-through-chapter 4
Praise God: For his grace—in its many forms.
Offer Thanks: For God’s call on your life and his willingness to make certain that you hear his voice.
Confess: Your own foolishness and rebellion, remembering that nothing escapes his watchful eye.
Ask God: To fill you with a renewed gratitude for his presence and love for the lost.
This explains a lot, seems like those that answer to call to walk in the office of a prophet endure a lot, especially in their coming of age. No running from God, he found Jonah on a boat, and in the sea inside a whale, I know he found me in some strange places,lol. Praise God for being all knowing and having grace that endureth forever. Thanks for posting, this blessed my soul
Bless you and thank you, Pastor Brotha Teacher I love the story of Jonah, it let us all know, no matter where we are, what we do, God can and will bring us on in to do his will.
Amen yes God drench me out of some crazy places in my life as well im greatful for another chance amen. Mybhead wasnt on straight at one point in time and i called my self running by tunning him out not listening cause i was afraid of the calling on my life the next step but praise God i did it now im in a better place then i was. Amen
Some are still stuck in the belly of the fish because of disobedience to the instructions of God and some are stuck because they are operating in positions they were not assigned to or called for. When we except the calling on our lives we have to be prepared for the assignments that go along with it. I love this story because I been in this position of not wanting to go where I was told to go. A couple of years ago I stepped out to open up the ministry God gave me and the location He told me to go to was not the location I opened the doors up at. The struggle was real and because of my disobedience it did not work so I have learned a valuable lesson from this and that is when God says move do it and where He says go that is where you go. Awesome reading
We should not be scared of the things of God, when there is a calling upon our lives there is no need to run , be ready, accept it and rejoice
This teaching is powerful and a powerful leason to be learned throughout the ages. I never knew Jonah's name meant "A Dove". in the new testament is says, Luke 3:22 (KJV)
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like A Dove upon Jesus Christ, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.