Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jonah

Jonah is one of the most recognizable figures of the Bible.  Probably because of the whale. 
Jonah was called about the time of King Jeroboam II and King Uzziah (of Israel and Judah respectively).  He was called to go to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria.  He is one of the few prophets who was called to go to a Gentile nation.  God tells him to go there to tell them that he is going to bring judgment upon them.
Now the Assyrians were mean nasty people.  They were known for impaling people on poles and putting hooks though people's noses. 
Jonah doesn't obey God's command.  He turns tail and runs.  In the complete opposite direction.  Most people figure he was afraid of going to Nineveh, however, if you read chapter 4 of Jonah, you will find the real reason was that he didn't want God to change his mind if the Assyrians repented and save them.  He wanted them wiped off the face oft he earth.
Now, running from God is always a stupid and futile thing to do.  It didn't work for Adam and it certainly didn't work for Jonah.  God caused a major storm to come up.  Even the unbelieving sailors recognized this as a supernatural storm.  Jonah was found out by casting lots and thrown overboard at his request.

After that, he was swallowed by a large fish where he stayed for three days and nights.  He prayed to God while in there (you can read his prayer in chapter 2) and was spat back out.

He obeyed God this time (a wise decision) and went to Nineveh.  The people there took Jonah's warning that God would destroy them seriously and wore sackcloth in repentance. 

Jonah didn't like that one bit.  He sat outside the city and was angry that God had decided to spare the city.  While he was waiting there, God grows a nice plant (the old NIV translates it "vine" but the new one translates it "leafy plant") that shades Jonah from the sun.  But then God sends a worm to eat the plant which withers so that Jonah is scorched by the sun.  Now he's angry about the plant and the city.  God concludes the book by saying that Jonah was concerned for a plant that he did not tend so why should God not be concerned about the people of Nineveh.

I find the last chapter about the plant/vine is often not talked about which is sad because it sums up the main idea of the book.  Jonah is a very short book.  I recommend reading it. 

1 comment:

  1. The Bible really does have everything doesn't it? Suspense, action it has it all!
    Beautiful posts!
    Peanut Butter and Whine


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