Jonah was called by God to go to Nineveh to warn them about the judgment of God because of their sins. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria and was a very wicked, brutal, and immoral nation. Israel saw them a great threat and hated them.
Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh and ran away from God's calling. Jonah didn't want to deliver the message to Nineveh because he was afraid the people would repent and they would be spared God's judgment. Jonah didn't want any nation except for Israel to have God's mercy. He had forgotten God's purpose for Israel was to be a blessing to the Gentiles, bringing them to a knowledge of God.
Has there been anything the Lord has told you to do and you ran away because you didn't want to do it? Have you been willing to share God with other people? Have you been afraid God would spare someone the judgment, maybe because you felt they didn't deserve it? Have you forgotten God has meant for everyone to hear the Gospel?
Jonah wanted to be away from the presence of the Lord so he went to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. Tarshish was about 2,500 miles from Israel, one of the farthest places from Israel. While Jonah was on the ship the Lord sent a great wind and there was a powerful storm at sea.
Have you ever wanted to be as far away as possible from God because you knew you had disobeyed Him. You just wanted to hide from Him because of your disobedience. Always remember there isn't anyplace to hide, God knows where we are.
Jonah had gone below and was sleeping. The men on the ship was afraid and each called to their god. The shipmaster went to Jonah and told him to call to his God. The men on the ship decided to cast lots so they would know who was to blame for the storm. The lot fell on Jonah. The men wanted to know Jonah's occupation and where he was from. They also wanted to know what he had done as they knew he was fleeing from the presence of God.
Have you put someone in jeopardy because you were fleeing from God?
Jonah told them to throw him into the sea so the storm would go clam down. They threw him into the sea and the storm ceased.
Have you ever told anyone it was because of you that things were going wrong?
God had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. While he was in the belly of the fish, he prayed to God. He prayed for his life and for forgiveness with the voice of thanksgiving as he knew he had been disobedient to God.
Have you ever been afraid of the discipline facing you because of disobedience? Have you ever prayed God would not be so angry with you for your disobedience? If you have, did you pray with thanksgiving in your heart?
God spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah out on dry land. God spoke to Jonah again and told him to go to Nineveh and preach. This time he did as the Lord had told him. He preached to the people and the people believed God.
While Jonah was praying and offering up to God a sincere sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise God had the fish spit Jonah out on dry land. After God disciplined you did you do what He had asked you to do? Has God ever intervened on your behalf? It isn't always easy to do what the Lord has asked you to do but He could give you a second chance to do it just like He did Jonah.
Jonah was disappointed and emotionally upset that he preferred to die. He felt God had turned against him and his people by sparing the Ninevites. God asked him why He should not spare Nineveh. God still loved Jonah and He loved the Ninevites also.
Have you felt God had turned against you because He has spared a judgment on someone that you felt didn't deserve it? We should always want others to be spared the judgment of God. He loves all of us, not just certain ones. It isn't up to us to decide who is forgiven and who isn't, that belongs to the Lord and Him only.
Some of the churches today have forgotten the importance of the missionary work. It seems they are more concerned about building their own kingdom at home.
We need to be completely committed to God and His will for our lives. If we aren't, not only will ones life be affected but the lives of our family and others will eventually suffer as well.
Just as Jonah was sleeping some members of the church are sleeping and are unconcerned even though people are spiritually perishing in the storms of life. We need to realize that oneself is not the only one needing to know the Lord and needing help. Remember at one time you were in the same 'boat' as the ones needing the Lord.
Whenever the Lord calls us to do something we should remember He knows what is best for each and everyone that is involved. We must always want to share the Lord with everyone not just who we think deserves it. We need to want everyone to know the Lord, accept Him as their Saviour, have a personal relationship with the Lord, and to have heaven to go home to. Doing all this will take nothing away from us but it will add to us.
You can find the story of Jonah and the fish in the book of Jonah in the Bible.
Thank you for dropping bye. May you always know the love, joy, and peace of the Lord.
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