Have faith like Jonah but not an attitude of Jonah
For today's message the Lord wants us to meditate on Jonah as a testimony. When the word 'Jonah' is spoken the first thing that comes to mind is of he being in the belly of a fish for 3 days.
When Jonah was told to give the message of repentance to the people of Nineveh, Jonah was very disappointed. If you and I were living during those times we too would possibly think the same way.
To give you an example it is like the Lord telling an American to go to Afghanistan / Northern Pakistan and to give Osama Bin Laden and his people the message of repentance (even this is an understatement). The people of Nineveh were a powerful force who lived a barbarous life. They were pageant worshipers who sacrificed infants and people as an act of worship. They were even known to skin people alive. For any ordinary person to walk into that city was considered insane. The world hated them and this fact is known by the structure of their city walls. But these people had the greatest technology and prosperity for building towers and multilevel war ships during those times is like building skyscrapers and submarines now.
When Jonah was told to give the message of repentance to the people of Nineveh he did not fear the people and also knew that they would accept and change, which he did not want. Jonah wanted the people of Nineveh to be let scot-free but wanted them to be punished. The Lord had given the people of Nineveh 40 days limit after which they would be completely destroyed. To make sure they get destroyed Jonah went the opposite direction to a place far from Nineveh.
The Lord was well aware that Jonah would do that and this act of Jonah actually helped in getting the people of Nineveh to repent. The people of Nineveh worshiped a god who was half man and half fish and the walls of their city gate had the carvings on this god on either side.
When Jonah survived through belly of the fish he must have looked just unimaginable for a person from Europe fishing in the Mediterranean Sea was once swallowed by a whale and when they cut open the whale after nearly a day he came out alive but pale all over. This breed of whale is known to swallow huge objects and vomit them on the banks of the sea. The belly of this whale is very large and can hold a person and sufficient air for that person to be alive for a long time.
Jonah covered with digestive juice for 3 days was vomited out on the banks of the sea outside the city of Nineveh. This must have been witnessed by some of the people of Nineveh this was the reason he walked into the fortified city right up to the center and no one stopped or questioned him. The words that came out of his mouth were like words coming directly from God for them, since Jonah came for a fish.
The attitude of Jonah can be known by his disappointment and rebelling with the Lord after the people of Nineveh repented.
God first desires to save and not to punish He is patient, kind and merciful. Though His Kingdom is founded on righteousness, His love and mercy over writes all.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, we thank You for your love and mercy. Your wisdom is beyond man's imagination and by your wisdom You have created all things. You are perfect and the creation You have created is perfect knowing the hearts of man. For the wicked people You have given the sign of Jonah. Lord help us not to harden our hearts, but help us surrender to all your instructions...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scripture ]
1 Now the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah; and he went down to Joppa, and 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 Jehovah.
Jonah 2:7 - 3:6
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.
4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
Jonah 3:8 - 4:5
8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?
5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.
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