JONAH....A PROPHET FROM GALILEE
A little background history of who Jonah was will help us more fully as we see on how he learned from his mistakes and lesson on how to imitate his faith and learn from him too.
2kings 14:25 states"He restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet who was from Gath Hepher."
Jonah was from Gath-hepher, a city just two and half miles from Nazareth, the town where Jesus Christ would grow up some eight centuries later. He served as a prophet during the reign of king Jeroboam II of the ten-tribe kingdom of isreal. The time of Elijah was long past, his successor Elisha, had died during the reign of Jeroboam's father. Although God used those men to remove Baal worship, isreal was willfully going astray again. The land now was under the influence of a king who continued to do what was bad in the eyes of God. So Jonah's service could not have been a pleasant one.
"Get up, Go to Nineveh"
One day Jonah recieved an assignment from God that he found to be difficult for him to carry out. God told Jonah
"Get up, go to Nineveh, the great city and proclain against her that their badness has come up before me" (Jonah 1:2).
Nineveh was some 500 miles to the east, an overland journey that would likely take about a month on foot. So Jonah saw it as a daunting assignment. At Nineveh, Jonah was to deliver God's judgement message to the Assyrians, who were notoriously violent, even savage. If Jonah had seen little response among God's own people, what could he hope to see among those who do not worship God?.
Jonah ran away. God had directed him to go east, but he headed west and as far west as he could go. He went down to the coast, to a port city called Joppa, where he found a ship headed to Tarshish. He was determined to get away from the assignment God gave him (Jonah 1:3)
Let's not be quick to judge him or see him as a coward. Like all of us he was an imperfect man struggling with many faults.
God Disciplines Jonah
We can just visualise Jonah on the ship, likely a phoenician ship, he watched as the captain and his crew bustled about to get their craft under way and out of port. Jonah must have hoped he was escaping the danger he so avoided. But somthing happened.
Strong winds churned up to the sea into nightmarish rage, with waves that migth dwarf even modern day vessels. The mariners began crying out to their various gods, and he knew that no help would come from that direction (Jonah 1:4). So how could Jonah pray to the God he was running from? Feeling powerless to help, he went below the deck of the ship and found a place to lie down. There he went fast asleep, the captain found him, woke him up, and urged him to pray to his god, as everyone else was doing. The seamen were casting lots to see which of the people on board might be the cause of the trouble. The lot at last fell on Jonah. He told the sailors about his running away from his assignment from God. The men were terrified, so they asked him what they could do to him to save the ship and their lives. So Jonah urged them
"lift me up and hurl me into the sea, and the sea will become still for you; because i am aware that it is on my account that this great tempest is upon you" (Jonah 1:12)
What a self sacrificing spirit. It must have warmed God's heart to see Jonah brave. The sailors at first refused but as the wave was severe, they called out to Jonah's God Jehovah to show them mercy, they lifted Jonah up and hurled him into the sea (Jonah1:13-15).
Jonah sank down and down into the sea, thinking all hope was lost. At once something was moving nearby-an immense, dark shape, a living creature opened over him, engulfed and swallowed him down. God appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah. (Jonah 1:17).
As hours passed, in darkness Jonah composed his thoughts to God saying
"As for me, with the voice of thanksgiving i will sacrifice to you. What i vowed, i will pay. Salvation belongs to Jehovah". (Jonah 2:9)
Jonah stayed alive for three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish.
JONAH'S TURNING POINT
After three days and three nights, the fish brought Jonah right to the shore and vomited him out onto the dry land. Before long at Jonah 3:1&2 God told Jonah a second time
"Get up, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to her the proclamation that i am speaking to you"
At once Jonah got up and went to Nineveh in accord with the word of God. Yes he obeyed. Clearly he has learned from his mistakes
God rewarded Jonah's obedience and saved the lives the Ninevites and of the sailors and this made those mariners to fear God greatly and made a sacrifice to God instead of their false gods.
- At (mattew 24:14),christains are admonished to preach the goodnews of God's kingdom, we might feel daunted to do that, but remembering that God will give us the strength to do his will will keep motivating us.
- Jonah displayed a self sacrificing spirit in a challenging situation, we too should imitate him by putting the welfare of others ahead of ours.
- When we see people in need spiritually,physically,emotionally,we should give ourselves in other to help out for God will be pleased with us.
- Salvation is something God can bring to anyone,anywhere,anytime as he did for Jonah in the belly of the great fish.
- lastly we all sin ( Rom3:23), make mistakes but we shouldn't give up rather turn to God and he will strengthen us.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL !
THANKS FOR READING !!
I LOVE US ALL !!!
Still your dearie rechylove