Friday, November 1, 2013
Jonah was in Joppa which was northwest of Jerusalem along the sea and Nineveh is north of the word Assyria.
v. 1-2 "The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."
This is not the childhood version that many learn in Sunday School with a happy man living in a whale for three days on a coloring page. This looks at our heart attitude. Many probably think this is a fairy tale due to the grand scale of the story, but it is not. This short book (only 4 chapters) focuses on the prophet rather than on the message he was suppose to give. I believe our attitude will hinder our growth if we continue to choose our feelings over God's will.
With overwhelming violence going on all over the world then and now, is there any wonder why we should be judged by God? Do not think that sin hidden in the dark will blind God, He can see even into the darkest of places. Even if sin seems to be thriving in our society, sin will always make it's way before God. Before digging into Jonah we have to look at the setting because it is a very important part of the story.
Under King Jeroboam II, during the time of Jonah, life was probably pretty good. There was great economic prosperity in the land. He was a well respected leader, a prophet. He had a good position and was now being asked to leave his home (none of the other prophets were being asked by God to leave) to preach to people he more than likely hated with a passion. How do you leave a good job, position of respect and comforts of home to preach to your enemy? God, He is the only answer that could apply.
Assyria was Israel's most dreaded enemy at that time. Nineveh was a great city in Assyria. The prophet Nahum spoke of the great wickedness that was going on in Assyria; evil plots against God, cruelty in war and against the helpless, idolatry, prostitution and witchcraft. This must have been the last thing Jonah would have ever thought God would ask him to do.
God spoke to Jonah, back then God did not speak to everyone. He spoke to some of the people and those people were to go out and share what God had given them. Now God speaks to many although few hear His voice among the yelling of this world. The only other time in the Old Testament that Jonah is mentioned is in 2 Kings 14:25. This gives us Jonah's stats; his name, religion, family, job & hometown. These five things we find out about him before he gets a divine interruption.
"What we know about Jonah that will make a difference for eternity only comes after the interruption." Priscilla Shirer
I am Jonah and so are you. We have been interrupted in the plans for our lives and we all have disobeyed God at some point, although it may not be so obvious to us at the time or as big as what Jonah went through, but we all fall short of His expectations. This book is a great look at our hearts and how when God calls us, we choose to act, either in disobedience or complete and utter allegiance.
Priscilla calls a life interrupted a divine intervention, what we see as an interruption, God is using for an intervention so that we can live the life we were meant to live. To be interrupted questions our priorities and the value we place on them. When held up to the light of God our value system is faulty.
What is your divine intervention right now? What is God asking of you that seems too difficult to even comprehend? Will you heed the call and follow God or run away like Jonah?