The Message-The Book of Jonah August 2018

This book of the Bible teaches us that God’s will is far more important than our own. It shows us the human rebellion of Jonah and the consequences of that rebellion.

The people of the city of Nineveh (capital of Assyria) were sinners, totally lost and without hope apart from God’s grace and mercy. So was Jonah and so are we. As Christians it is God’s will that we extend to others the loving kindness God extends to us. We are to yield to God’s will.

The events in this book reveal to us that God is omnipotent and sovereign over all creation. He is all knowing and in all places.

Nineveh, the oldest and most-populous city of the ancient Assyrian empire, situated on the east bank of the Tigris River and encircled by the modern city of MosulIraq.

Jonah’s first response to God’s request that he go to Nineveh was that of rebellion. God was offering His grace to the people of Nineveh and also promising judgment if they refused His grace.

Nineveh was a wicked evil place. They were cruel and wicked towards the Israelites. Their armies often skinned their captives alive, removed tongues, gouged out their eyes, drove over people with their chariots, and burned children alive. Jonah despised the Assyrians due to their cruelty. It left deep wounds in the Israelite’s hearts and minds. The Assyrian people were against God and man with impunity. Yet God had a message for Assyria, the capital city of Nineveh.

These people were also Gentiles not Jews. Jonah couldn’t understand why God would want to forgive them. It is obvious Jonah couldn’t forgive their wicked evil actions. Therefore, Jonah resisted God’s request for a time.

Our sovereign God orchestrated and allowed rebellious Jonah to go into the belly of a huge sea creature the Hebrews called a fish, for 3 days and nights. These creatures are large enough to swallow several men whole at a time. 

From the belly of a great fish Jonah was vomited out onto dry ground after crying out to God for help. The rebellious Jonah then carries out his assignment from God and goes to Nineveh. One way or another God will accomplish His plans.

Jonah 2:9-10 But I will sacrifice to you, with the voice of thanksgiving I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. So the Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

For the second time God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you. So he went. When he arrived, he cried out and said Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown. The people believed God. God saw their works and that they had turned from their evil way.

The Ninevites repented and God did not pass His judgment on them. Jonah was beside himself. He was angry. He wanted God to pass His judgment on them not show them His grace and mercy. Jonah wanted his own vision of justice.

God is holy and requires the treatment of the wicked will be different from the treatment of the righteous. When the righteous turn wicked, or the wicked turn righteous, the way God treats them must change. God must deal with each, according to their actions, the way we are living and according to the ways we change, for better or worse.

The book of Jonah show us that our God is forgiving and will hear your prayers of repentance. The need for repentance continues all of our lives, not just once. The Lord says He requires us to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with Him.

It is from the book of Jonah that Jesus used to predict His own resurrection after three days in the grave.

Matthew 12:39-40 He answered, A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.  For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Will you yield to God’s requests and ways? Today He offers you and all people His mercy if you will only humble yourself before Him, accept His Son Jesus as your Savior and follow Him all the days of your life. Don’t be rebellious but yield to the One who loves you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

God bless. Heal the brokenhearted, bind up all their wounds.