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Why Jonah Ran

P1030476Be fair to Jonah. His mission was dangerous. Bearers of bad news had been killed for a lot less, even within the borders of Israel.

Imagine hearing, “Go to your enemies. The awful ones.  Tell them that in 40 days the God of Israel is going to destroy them.”

Yet when the prophet eventually delivered his message, people as evil as God-only-knows listened. The king of the great city-nation of Nineveh decreed, “No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.

And God relents.

You might think that Jonah would have breathed a sigh of relief. But he doesn’t. What was he to make of a God who doesn’t keep his word— but instead ends up showing mercy to a whole city of terrible people that didn’t have the moral sense “to tell their right hand from their left?”

But that wasn’t Jonah’s issue. As it turns out he didn’t run in the opposite direction for fear of what terrorists would do to him.

In his own words, he says, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

CamelQuite a tale we tell our children. If what they hear about Jonah and the whale really does capture their imagination, maybe—when they are old— they will still be thinking about a prophet who knew his God well enough… to read between the lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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96 Responses to “Why Jonah Ran”

  1. tracey5tgbtg says:

    So, from Jonah’s words, we can see that Jonah knows God. He knows that God is gracious and merciful. Jonah didn’t want God to relent in his anger towards the Ninevites. Jonah wanted them to be held accountable for their sin.

    When everything happened as Jonah envisioned, the Ninevites repented and God relented, Jonah was so angry he wanted to die.

    I don’t think Jonah was a bad person. His actions just show how very hard it is with our human nature to love and forgive our enemies. It is so hard to reach out to those who appear to be truly heinous in their sin.

    Jonah knows God and from the words he said to God, it is obvious he has no problem telling God exactly what he thinks, which is good, because God knows what Jonah thinks anyway.

    We might as well come clean with God and tell Him what we feel in our hearts.

  • remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    This is a story not easily forgotten — especially the big fish sent by the Lord to swallow Jonah. In view of the cruelty of the Assyrians — and their unjust control of the Middle East in their period of power — Jonah’s soul would cry out for God’s harsh judgment on them, not God’s mercy, it seems to me.

    He does know the heart of God, agreeing with you Tracey.

    Jonah says:

    “…I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

    What does this sovereign move of the Creator God have to do with our lives and our era of history? When we know why Jonah ran, we may be strengthened to simply show up — giving our great God at least our obedience to His Law of Love.

    God’s great heart for His evil children must transform my small-minded, vengeful attitude toward enemies. Can I be part of the spreading victory of Christ’s blood in the world?

    Blessings,
    Maru

    40F with rain showers this morning