Read Jonah 1
Jonah learns firsthand what it means to hit rock bottom spiritually and emotionally. He cries to God who answers (Jon. 2:2,7). The enemy humbly prays for mercy (3:6-10). Jonah gets angry because God does not destroy them (4:1-2).
The Lord directed Jonah to go to Nineveh to cry (preach) against it (its sins); for their wickedness is come up before Me (Jon. 1:2). But Jonah believed Nineveh was a threat to Israel and deserved to be destroyed. He knew God had called him to warn them to repent, but he made the mistake of believing he could avoid the command of God.
Jonah was unwilling to be a foreign missionary to Nineveh. Step-by-step this disobedient prophet rose up (but not in the direction of his calling), and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish (the most remote of the Phoenician trading places): so he paid the fare . . . went down into it . . . from the presence of the Lord. . . . and he lay, and was fast asleep (1:3,5). Thinking he was leaving his troubles behind, he went to sleep looking forward to his "much-needed" vacation. But such “luck” always ends in "deep waters."
Jonah's plan gave him an opportunity to "escape." But favorable circumstances when ignoring the will of God never lead to a successful end. We are often more diligent in working toward our ruin than in seeking to do the will of God. Jonah paid the fare like many who spend their money and effort on selfish projects while disregarding the Lord's tithe and His Church. But Jonah soon discovered that ignoring the Word of God is always expensive and eventually brings great disappointment. All "backsliders" eventually pay the "full fare" in bitter experience. The willingness of God to forgive the greatest of sinners when they repent (II Pet. 3:9) was made known when Nineveh's king and its people repented and were spared from destruction.
Jonah discovered that the love of God is not limited to Israel but is open to everyone. Nineveh's repentance gave it about 100 years of peace before they backslid and were laid waste during the time of Nahum (Nah. 3:7). The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).
The Lord Jesus on three occasions spoke of this historic event as factual: As Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's (huge fish's) belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here (Matt. 12:40-41; 16:4; Luke 11:29-32).
Thought for Today:
Keep back Thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then . . . I shall be innocent from the great transgression (Ps. 19:13).
By Jonah's experience in the great fish (Jon. 1:7 — 2:10). Jesus used this historical event as an illustration to tell of His death, burial, and resurrection when the Pharisees demanded a sign from Him (Matt. 12:39-41; also I Cor. 15:3-4).
2:2 hell in O.T. 31 times (from Sheol, used about 65 times) to hide, cover, or the grave. In the N.T. Jesus used hell (from Hades, Gehenna) to explain an after-death place of torments (Matt. 8:29; Luke 16:23,28; Rev. 14:10; 20:10); 2:8 lying vanities worthless idols, false worship; 3:10 God repented he was grieved; 4:5 booth shelter; 4:8 vehement scorching.
Pray for Country: Andorra (78,000) in the eastern Pyrenees between France and Spain • Major languages: Catalan and French • Official freedom of religion • 94% Christian; 4% non-Religious; .6% Muslim; .9% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Lift up your prayers with a spirit of thankfulness and praise to the Lord (Ps. 79:13).
Memory Verse for the Week: