Jonah and the Mariners
|He is a Hebrew with a rich history of God’s faithfulness||They were Gentiles with no history of God|
|He is monotheistic, believing in one true God||They are polytheistic, worshiping many false Gods|
|He is rightly related to the true God||They had no relationship with the true God|
|He was spiritually insensitive, going in the wrong direction||They are spiritually sensitive, going in the right direction. They prayed.|
|He is indifferent toward God’s will in spite of knowing him||They were concerned before God in spite of little or no knowledge of him|
|He was uncompassionate toward Nineveh||They were compassionate toward Jonah|
|Jonah was rebellious and therefore disciplined, but not destroyed||They were brought to worship and commitment|
Jonah and the Plant
God and Nineveh
Jonah and the Plant
|God cares for the people of Nineveh||Jonah cared for a plant|
|God was concerned for the welfare of others||Jonah was concerned for himself|
|God created all that was in Nineveh||Jonah did not create the plant|
|The people of Nineveh are of eternal significance||The plant was temporal|
|God’s concern was and is for human life||Jonah’s concern was for comfort and selfish personal interest|
|God’s concern for Nineveh is proper and displays his love||Jonah’s concern for a plant rather than for people is improper; it displays selfishness and an improper perspective on life|
Every Book can be traced back to Genesis. Do you remember Noah’s 3 sons. One of them, Ham, mocked his father for being naked and drunk. Noah cursed him and his descendants, and from that line we see all the enemies to Israel. The capital of that nation is Nineveh.
The first centers of his kingdom were Babylon, Erech, Akkad and Calneh, in Shinar. From that land he went to Assyria, where he built Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah and Resen, which is between Nineveh and Calah; that is the great city. (Genesis 10:10)
Later when we read the book of Nahum we will hear about the guilt of the Assyrian people, but Jonah was very aware of their wicked ways. He hated them. When he was told to preach to them he ran the other way. I am not going to talk about life application on the blog, I am sure God spoke to you directly when reading it. So back to Jonah, did you laugh at the thought of him being able to run from God?
Jonah knew that Assyria was Israel’s dreaded enemy, and wanted them to fall under God’s judgment like the Edomites. If they repented and were spared, then Israel for sure would fall to their hands, however, if they stayed evil then the Lord might spare Israel. Hmmmm.
While Jonah is on the boat, what stood out to me was the non-believers actually were nicer than the believers. The were very kind to Jonah trying hard to spare his life. But God fixed the casting of the lot so that Jonah would be sent overboard and then a huge fish swallowed him up. DO you have trouble believing this? Think of that one person in your life that would never be a TOTALLY surrendered Christian to the Lord. Got them in your head? Now what do you think is more impossible…. that or a man in a fish? If God can make a man live in a fish for 3 days (which is a small task compared to making ALL the Earth and Heaven) than surely that person in your mind can be transformed by the Word of God!!!!
So Jonah shares the Word of God and it is so powerful that in 3:5 Nineveh BELIEVED GOD. (that is how powerful His Words are…I mean look at us, 6 months and we are still reading the Bible, these words are living and God makes them change us! His words are just as powerful as He is.)
SO why did God forgive the repented nation of Assyria? God’s judgment on us is not punishment, but correction. He disciplines us to make us a better person. The Assyrians were not Jewish and God needed to show Israel (Jonah) that his love and forgiveness was for the whole world, not just them. The term Chosen people does not infer that God loved them any more than He loves us, it means He chose them to be His instrument on this earth, to bring Jesus to save us from ourselves.
The book ends quite suddenly with Jonah being angry about the worm eating the vine. He was more concerned with his comfort in life than the salvation of people in this world. Strong statement we all need to think about. (It hurt me just to type it)
Anyway, an amazing story!! If there is a single scripture that stood out, you loved, or want to discuss or question…please do!
Did anyone Cross Reference to Matthew?
When I say Jonah, what is the first word that you think next? Fish? Whale? Big Fish? Many of you have read this story, or may know this story, and I also know for some this will be a first read. But this time when we are done reading it, if I say Jonah what is the first word you think next it is going to be GOD, or BIG God. (because this has nothing to do with a fish)
So Yesterday we read Jonah’s name in 2 Kings 14:25. Jonah was from Gath-hepher, a town right outside Nazareth (Jesus). He lived during the reign of Jeroboam II and helped make Israel prosperous (just before the fall of the nation) . The book is about Nineveh. Nineveh is the capital of Assyria. The Assyrians were a huge and cruel nation. They were warriors that built their kingdom on their pillage from other countries. Their morals were horrible.
- They skinned men alive,
- cut out their tongues,
- gauged out their eyes for fun,
- dismembered their bodies
- and then made mounds of the skulls as decorations in their empire.
Nineveh was situated in the East Bank of the Tigris. This city was rich and powerful! I guess you can say, they had no need for God.
Many scholars are divided over whether this book is fiction, an allegory, a parable, or a prose poem. However, I have no doubt that the story is exactly as it reads. If God says it, it is true. Jesus reaffirms the story in Matthew 12:38, comparing the time spent in the huge fish to own resurrection! If Jesus accepts the Jonah story, I accept the Jonah story.
SO a quick summary of what you are about to read. Jonah gets “called” to Nineveh, this cruel horrible city to denounce wickedness of the people. Jonah says, No and gets on a boat and heads in the opposite direction. Why? Does he think….
- Is he afraid of these awful people?
- Thinks what’s the point, they won’t change anyway?
- If God’s own Chosen People won’t choose God and repent, why would these people?
NO that is not why he goes the other way!!! He goes the other way because he KNOWS God and He knows that if he is sending him on a mission then He is at work! And they probably will repent and be forgiven and he does not want that. Jonah hates the Assyrians.
This story is not about a fish, it is about God’s Love. God’s Mercy. God’s Grace. His love extends to the whole world, even the worst people in the world. We all have that one person in our life that we say “Oh, they will never become a Christ Follower, they will never change, they are hopeless, they are HORRIBLE people?.” Well read this story and watch God at work in the lives of the one people on this earth that didn’t want God. So as you read this story dig into your heart. Spend some time in the belly of a whale (one on one with God) and come out a different person.