(Caps used for Divine emphasis)

       Considering .... Jonah  

Jonah, was not only a child of God, a Hebrew, and a prophet of God ~ but, he was also a statesman, the most famous man next to the king, in his nation Gath-hepher.
A man of such prominence and status, what would people think and react like in what he was to do that God had ordained and commissioned him to do and say? Why, was he in particular the one that God saw fit to choose for such a time as this, warning Ninevah, that great city? Go to them with a message of doom and Judgment, warning them of God's impending Judgment coming upon them for their cruelty and theft of the poor, their selfish control over them and their lives, and their idolatry and sinfulness against God and His laws, in many areas? Then, now and always ~~~ God knowing our heart, knows exactly who He can count on to do what He wants and/or commands them to say and do to whomever. Such was the case with Jonah. (although you surely wouldn't have known this in his first response)

The Book of Jonah was written by Jonah himself, declaring the situation of things, with no attempt to excuse his own show of disobedience.  In Jonah's life, we see God's love, patience and mercy; how He waited upon and ultimately dealt with man's sinfulness and rebellion against Him.  We see the priority issue made quite clear, and again, this accounting offers to us today, lessons regarding what we should/should not do.  Therein, we see God's desire fulfilled, and His reward upon the repentant and the obedient.

Jonah was called of God to prolong the life of the enemy nation which was already in the process of exterminating his own nation. Wow!  This, no doubt, is one of the reasons he disobeyed God at the first (until he got himself into the first 'submarine' ride ever for disobeying God....i.e. the belly of a whale).  Study books say this, plus that he disobeyed because of patriotic dread of a brutal and relentless military machine which was closing in on God's people.  Now, let's consider the events and reactions of the people written therein.
Jonah 1: 1 ~ 12
" Now The Word of The Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before Me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from The Presence of The Lord, (as if this...is even 'possible'....duh!) and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from The Presence of The Lord.  But The Lord sent out a Great Wind into the Sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the Sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the Sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? What is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear The Lord, The God of Heaven, which hath made the Sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from The Presence of The Lord, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the Sea may be calm unto us? for the Sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the Sea; so shall the Sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you."
And, Chapter 1: vs. 14 ~ 17

" Wherefore they cried unto The Lord, and said, We beseech Thee, O Lord, we beseech Thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for Thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased Thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the Sea: and the Sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared The Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto The Lord, and made vows. Now The Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights."

(what a way for those mariners to stop....calling on 'their gods' and to learn to believe in The God of Heaven and earth! One quickie lesson given to all of them from The Master, through Divine Intervention and whalla!.....all of them were believers, prayed and made promises to Him. Chuckles!)

There are many thoughts I had as I read this Book through again.  There are several things we each can learn and apply to our self and our life with God....if we will.  First, Jonah was sound asleep on the ship, off in his own little corner, while the Sea tossed from God's Wrathful Wind He sent. Jonah had temporary peace of mind and soul after he disobeyed God. This, in itself, greatly deludes the mind of people who embrace disobedience to God as 'their' way of life. It is best described as a 'false sense of security'. One is lulled into a temporary sleep, Spiritually speaking. Of course, this is the devil's playground to work against a soul; then, he likes to sock-the-gas to you, because .... you've opened the door to him and his buddies, by disobeying God's way of being. So, here's the first result of disobedience.  Second, God in His Anger ~sent a Storm from Heaven, Divinely Intervening and getting the time and attention of all of them.  He had a purpose, a plan, and for sure He was going to get it done. Jonah had lessons to learn. And, the mariners had 'their gods' they called upon, needing to come into the realm of Faith in God Almighty, The One Who rules this entire Universe~The Great I AM!  Hallelujah. Third, they saw they were not left to fate nor to happenstance, any more than any of us are today. They each had terms to come to. Coming to terms with their self and God Himself, in Repentance, i.e. 'a change of mind, a turn around'.  Then, they made promises to God.  Then, they were willing to do whatEVER it took to spare their lives out there in the middle of the raging and scary Sea.

Fourth, notice their child-like faith and trust? They asked Jonah who he was, where he was from, and why he had even tried...to flee from The Presence of The Lord. Then they asked the key question, 'What shall we do to you man, so that we are safe, and the Sea becomes calm again?!'  He said, 'throw me overboard!'  Yeh, sure! WHOA!  Notice, they asked who, where, why and what?!  I can relate to those questions.......and I'm sure you can also. Chuckles.

Well now, if that wouldn't be enough to put The Fear of God into a person, I don't know what would! Could you have done that? Could you throw someone overboard in the middle of the Sea? Yet Jonah's reply was that the Sea would settle when they did so to him. They prayed and prayed and asked God to forgive them for what they were about to do. This is serious stuff here. It isn't an every day event to be experienced, and if you'd tell anyone about it they would probably think you were half-daffed in the head.  Just like the part that when they did so, God had a great fish (whale) ready to swallow up and spare Jonah. ( while in his disobedient state, and causing a ruckus on all within the ship, endangering their...lives) What is this? God's love and mercy.  Divine Intervention.  The Great I AM with you always, even unto the end. 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' (Jesus said)  Hallelujah. Then, I just love this.....Jonah comes to his 'right mind', while he's in there, in the belly of the whale, with the water slushing him about, the seaweed wrapped and flapping around him, the smelly gassy inners of the whale...and look at those teeth!....and 'oh me! I've REALLY gotten myself into a pickle of a jam THIS time! Now what?!'  Well, Jonah knew that he knew that he knew what....to do next, and he did it.

Jonah 2: 1 ~ 10
" Then Jonah prayed unto The Lord his God out of the fish's belly,  And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto The Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest my voice. For Thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the Seas; and the floods compassed me about: all Thy billows and Thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of Thy Sight; yet I will look again toward Thy Holy Temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me forever: yet hast Thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered The Lord: and my prayer came in unto Thee, into Thine Holy Temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. (Aha! Lesson learned?) But I will sacrifice unto Thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of The Lord. And The Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land."

This is The God we serve today; we, who are believers in The Lord Jesus Christ and His Doctrinal teachings. He is unlimited in what He can and shall do at any moment of any day.  Regardless of what your circumstances may be, it is my prayer that you, as I, take the lessons we can learn from Jonah, apply them to our own self in our daily walk with God. Let us faithfully follow Jesus Christ into all that is good, holy and acceptable in His sight. He stands with outstretched and Loving Arms to 'whosoever will, let him come and drink of The Waters of Life freely', offering His Forgiveness and Life anew.

John 10: 4, 5
" And when He putteth forth His own sheep,
He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him:
 for they know His Voice.
 And a stranger will they not follow,
but will flee from him:
for they know not the voice of strangers."

Paraphrasing the rest of Jonah's book and encouraging you to read it, as you read on you will see that God did not change His mind. He did not choose someone else to get the job done either. He was still believing in and depending upon Jonah and his obedience to settle His affairs with the people of Ninevah.  So, running from The Presence of God is ludicrous. Going to sleep like you had no conscience, is to no avail. Saying you 'fear God' when you've deliberately defied His orders in disobedience, makes one question how sincere the heart is with God, and if ... that 'relationship' is truly valued. Yes, Jonah is another offering us Wisdom.

Why is...it!....when things go wrong, and people feel pain ~ they can't change something ~ they finally are 'willing' to come to terms with self and God? It's just like that too much of the time with humans. Sad truth. Wisdom has it, that such things are not necessary. 'Relationship with Jesus' causes us to merely 'follow Him'..doing His commands.

The Bible says, 'The way of the transgressor is hard!' Isn't it easier to keep momentum in following Christ and The Word from a willing and obedient heart?  Surely.  Going forward 10 steps and falling back 5 is not a 'walk IN The Spirit', and makes The Promises of God held back from us because of our disobedience.  His promises are contingent upon us obeying Him, after all. You know...'If' you do this, I'll do that' and 'If' you don't do this, I'll do that.

Jonah heard from God, Go to Ninevah and cry out against their sin, telling them of My Judgment coming upon them. No! ~ God didn't change His mind. His plan was on the grid, though delayed a tad. So, this time Jonah obeyed. The city was large and be it because of his fear of God and being so convinced now...himself, he was convincing....crying out against their various sins, they believed this man of God.  It took him days and days of going throughout the large city long and wide, warning of God's impending Judgment.  They believed, fasted, prayed and repented of their sins.  And, God seeing their heart being penitent, changed His mind!  Hallelujah! Their sincerity showed.  Now, they convinced GOD of their 'good intent and will'.  They were depending upon God's loving mercy to be extended upon them all, instead of Judgment.

2 Chronicles 7: 14
" If My people, which are called by My Name,
shall humble themselves, and pray,
and seek My face,
and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from Heaven,
and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. "
God spared Ninevah, at this time, although later Judgment surely did come and the Prophecies of 4 prophets came to pass upon them for their returning sinfulness.  Nonetheless, here ~ God spared them, and Jonah pitched a fit of carnality over it.  He went out and brooded and God grew a Tree to give him shade.  Then, when the Tree was grown, God smote that thing and it died. Jonah got all upset over the Tree dying. Talk about 'perverted judgment'? God, seeing this, came to Jonah and just the same as said, 'Hey boy! Straighten up and fly right!  You are acting like a fool and you....know better than to act like this!'  SO! You show more concern for the 'tree' than you did for MY people and their lives?!!

How quick Jonah seemed to forget that he had sat in the belly of the whale 3 days and nights with seemingly no hope to come 'to himself' ~ At the bottom of the Sea.  How he feared that THIS ~ was his end. Too soon, he forgot that he himself should have the same compassion and understanding for others. God told him that he should have spared such people ~ rather than the tree.  Priority issue and a Spiritual heart condition came into play here.  And, except for the Grace of God, there go I.

In closing, I think it expedient to mention here that unbelievers.....hearing about Jonah being swallowed up by a whale, think it is a whale of a tale! Some say it is fiction, an allegory, a prose poem...his book, a parable, etc. Yet, Jesus Christ Himself referred to it as 'a historical FACT.' (and that...settles that!)  He also referred to it as a Sign of His Own Resurrection.  In fact, He put the fish, the Repentance of the Ninevites, His Resurrection, and The Day of Judgment, in the same category.  

He surely was speaking of REALITY when He spoke of His Resurrection and The Judgment Day. So, seeing Jesus accepted the Jonah story, who are we NOT to?!
Matthew 12: 34 ~ 41
Jesus said, ' O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?
for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things:
and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
 But I say unto you,
That every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof in The Day of Judgment.
 For by thy words thou shalt be justified,
and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying,
Master, we would see a Sign from Thee.
 But He answered and said unto them,
An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a Sign;
and there shall no Sign be given to it,
But the Sign of the prophet Jonas: (Jonah)
 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale'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."


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