I enjoy reading the story of Jonah; there is something about this story that helps me understand that even a prophet like Jonah was still just human. Jonah had problems just like everyone else; his story reveals the real hardships and frustrations that we can face today in our own lives. God uses a reluctant servant to show us the power of His great love and mercy in a culture that deserved judgment for their sins. It took Jonah three days to walk through the city proclaiming judgment and right before his eyes he saw people turning towards God pleading for Him to save them. This story, like many others in scripture gives me hope for the culture we live in today.
Micah’s story in some ways is much like that of Jonah without much of the personal struggles that surrounded his ministry. Micah’s story was encouraging in the sense that his message to the faithful remnant was this: even though they were surrounded by a culture that would eventually be destroyed there was hope; they had the assurance of the promise given to Abraham from God. Micah’s message and the message of the other prophets was reaching into the lives of the Israelites, God’s message was being heard, His love was for everyone and that for today is an encouragement for us to continue reaching out into our own communities.
I think about Jonah when I read through the book of Nahum, I believe its my human nature that makes me think that if Jonah would have been around during the destruction of Nineveh there would have been some part of him that did a little “happy dance”. This “book ended” relationship we read about between the ministries of these two prophets surrounds a culture of people who were lost and openly disobedient to the standard of living that God set out for them. When Christ comes again, I pray that we are in a better place than the people of Nineveh; I pray that as believers we will have done all we could do to proclaim the name of Jesus into the cultures that surround us.
Reflections founded on the book of Jonah as a whole.
Jonah like many of the other prophets had a specific call to ministry and when I read through his story I begin to see how his response to Gods calling is very different than the other prophets. The example or trend that I have seen so far through the Minor Prophets has been God calling men to a specific task and each of those men have been obedient to that call and do what God has asked.
The story of Jonah throws us a curve ball when we read that Jonah refuses to obey the command from God to go the city of Nineveh and preach a message of destruction because of its wickedness, Jonah then attempts to run away from God. Through the very memorable events of the storm and Jonah being tossed into the sea and swallowed by a giant fish we begin to see even through his disobedience how God is using him to reach the lost. Take a look at 1:16, “At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him”. I think we often overlook what happened with the sailors on the boat, they are introduced into the story as men who cried out to their own gods and here they are have witnessed the power of God at work and their lives are changed, I think this is important to note, this was God working through Jonah.
Through Jonah’s journey we begin to understand how much God loves us no matter how far we turn. Jonah eventually does make it to Nineveh and God continues to use him not only to turn the people towards Him but also to use Jonah as an example of His love and compassion. God gave Jonah a second chance because He loved him. I am encouraged because God has called me and sometimes I feel like running the opposite way because of fears and inexperience, but God promises to be with me and I know He loves me. I am also encouraged that through Jonah’s story we see that God answers prayer, he answered the prayers of the sailors, the prayers of Jonah and the prayers of the Ninevites. God is Good.