Jonah attempted to flee to Tarshish in disobedience. He boarded a ship in Joppa, then a violent storm began to rage, endangering the life of the crew. Jonah, knowing it was the Lord, advised the men to throw him overboard and Jonah began to drown. God prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. He remained in the belly of the whale for three days, where he acknowledged God's merciful, saving hand at work in his life. Transformed, Jonah goes to Nineveh in obedience. Jonah warns the Ninevites that in forty days their city will be overthrown due to their wickedness. The king and people believe, repent and are spared God's wrath.
Jonah became very angry and railed at God. Jonah wanted to die instead of witnessing the salvation of the wicked Ninevites. God reasons with Jonah, and questions his right to be angry. Jonah went and sat outside the city, making himself a shelter. “And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered.” Jonah 4:6-7. Jonah became angry that the beautiful, shading plant died overnight.
“Then God said to Jonah, 'Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?' And he said, 'It is right for me to be angry, even to death!' But the LORD said, 'You have had pity on the plant for which you have not laboured, nor made it grow, which came up in a night an perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left-and much livestock?” Jonah 4:9-11
The Holy Spirit, in His infinite mercy, spoke to my heart about God's love. We are to love our neighbours with the love exemplified by our LORD Jesus Christ. Have you ever witnessed people not serving the LORD, seeming to flourish in their rebellion, while ridiculing you for your faith in Christ? And have you ever secretly thought, “Ha, you'll see!?” Has the Lord sent you to preach the good news to them and, you resisted? The amazing message about Jonah is the evidence of God's mercy, compassion and love. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Brothers and sisters, the message is this: Go out and preach the good news to all who the LORD sends you! And let us not faint, become selfish, judgmental or bitter but let us walk in obedience, understanding that the LORD cares for those who do not yet believe as much as He cares for us.
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