So, I’ve been studying the great book of Jonah these last couple of weeks. Can I just say this, Our God is just crazy amazing!
I think everyone including me has heard of this story as a child at their church’s Sunday school or someone had referred to it some way or the other. And like you I was fascinated by it!
Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever studied this book as deeper nor understood it better until now.
It amazes me how Jonah can experience the fullness of God’s Mercy himself even when his mission was to send the message of Grace to the Ninevites!
Jonah is quite a Character! And so relatable…
He reminds me of me really!
Let’s go on this great journey with Jonah, shall we?
Jonah 1:1-3 The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
In chapter 1, The dialogue between God and Jonah.
God told Jonah to head over to Nineveh to tell the people to repent from there sins and turn to Him. Jonah’s reply to God’s instruction was…well with his actions was, “Ain’t goin’ anywhere, God!”
Can you not remember this same Ninevites took my people (Your People) as slaves? We are enemies! No way, I’m not going. So, he took off in the opposite direction to Tarshish, Spain to get away from God’s calling. Here’s a picture to give a better illustration of his answer.
But little did he know that …
❝You can not measure obedience to God by your feelings❞
Jonah 1:4-5 But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold.
This verse should make us realise that as Christians we have a great responsibility to obey God’s Word because our disobedience can hurt others around us.
Heart Check . . .
These verses wrecked my heart personally. To know that my disobedience cannot only hurt me but also hurt my families, friends, my church, my community, my country and the world brings me to my knees. Just like Jonah’s disobedience to God endangered the lives of the sailors and everyone on the boat. But check out brother Jonah though. While everyone on the ship was holding on to their dear lives, he was sound asleep…Sigh!
This just proves the saying
❝The absence of guilt does not always mean we are in the right. We can, in fact, deny reality❞
Jonah really didn’t want to go to Nineveh.
This sounds so familiar though! The honest truth is sometimes when God tells me something I often allow my feelings to cloud my obedience so to say. Just like Jonah’s hatred for the Ninevites had stopped him from seeing God’s bigger plan to these people.
Jonah 1:12 Throw me into the sea, Jonah said, and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.
Jonah seriously wanted to end his own life!
Honestly, I think Jonah must have felt as though God was punishing him.
Have you felt like Jonah before? Felt like God has given you a mission out of anger? To love the unlovable…?
Deuteronomy 31:6 For the Lord, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.
And this is exactly what God did with Jonah, He did not abandon him even when he purposefully disobeyed Him. He arranged a whale to swallow him, to teach him that He is God and He decides!
He shows MERCY to whoever He wants to show mercy to and Jonah cannot decide for Him. No matter how justified he may feel.
Amazing God, Amazing King!
In Chapter 2: After all the struggle, Jonah was simply thankful that he had not drowned and died. The whale, in fact, should have killed him but God saved him. Jonah came to the realisation that God was in charge of the storm and he had sent the whale.
❝Sometimes, God sends the storms and the darkness (whale) to get our attention.❞
Jonah was overwhelmed by God’s Love. God saved him in spite of his disobedience. He was simply thankful for God’s Mercy and Grace.
He was reminded that God decides what He wants to use us for, not us! And that there is Hope for everyone.
❝Your sin is never too great, your predicament is never too difficult for God❞
but remember that;
❝You are not the owner of your life, God is!❞
God forgives whoever he wants, including you.
He delights in showing us mercy and mercy triumphs over judgement.
Today, I am thankful that I am constantly reminded of this truth.
In Chapter 3 & 4 God gave Jonah and the Ninevites another chance, just like He is giving us today. He’ll never let go.
Jonah 3:1-2Then the Lord spoke to Jonah a second time: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you.”
Prayer: God Almighty! I’m in awe of Your grace. You will never give up on us. Merciful are You Lord! Who is seriously like YOU? No one!
Both Jonah and the Ninevites received another chance, not because they were perfect. Jonah, a servant of God, whose name means – a Dove and his surname, Amittai means – my Truth was not qualified for God’s service but yet God gave him another chance to take part in His glory even after his disobedience.
He gave the people of the great city of Nineveh another chance to turn back from their gods and perverse ways, another chance to walk in His marvellous light.
Jonah 4:1-2 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
Heart Check …
The truth is that I don’t always give people another chance. In fact, I cut them off completely once they’ve wronged me. I count all their wrongs and make my own judgements. I get angry with God when He asks me to forgive and show compassion so I don’t pray. I forget that is not about me, it’s all about God.
So, when I read this chapter, I realised that I need to be able to give people in my life another chance, I need to be slow to anger and be compassionate.
Why?, because I know God never for once gave up on me. He gives me chances upon chances. So who am I to say I’m not going to give people another chance. Just like Jonah and the great people of Nineveh, we all need forgiveness. And God knows we do. This is why He is so merciful and that is why His Love for me and you is crazy! Unexplainable, Absolutely mind-blowing!
Romans 3:22-23 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Both Jonah and the Ninevites fell short of God’s glorious standard and both were given another chance.
Titus 3:4 -5 When God our Saviour revealed His kindness and love, He saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.
Studying the book of Jonah has reminded me of my story in so many ways. But most of all, this book has taught me that God’s Mercy is consistent over me. I am saved by His great Mercy. He delights in showing me mercy because He sees the bigger picture and who He has created me to be.
Thanks for reading.
Lots of love,