Thursday, 16 December 2021
“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it…...” – Jonah 3:2
The book of Jonah is a testimony of God’s sovereign authority over all creation. All creation obeys Him. There are eight occasions in the book of Jonah describing God’s control over nature. The wind, sea, fish, vine and worm obeyed His command. Amazing to see God use all of His creation including Jonah to bring to repentance to the multitudes in the great city of Nineveh! The remnant of Nineveh is still found in Iraq and the story of Jonah known to the natives as a folklore! The events narrated in the book of Jonah were real which endorse the above facts! As it is stated in Mark 4:41 “… even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Colossians 1:16 says, “All things have been created through Him and for Him” and 1:17 says “in Him all things hold together.”
2 Kings 14:25 speaks of Jonah as a prophet of God from Gath Hepher. God delivered His message to king Jeroboam II through Jonah. The extension of the boundaries of the territory of his kingdom happened as Jonah prophesied. So, Jonah had seen God’s mercy at work through His dealing with King Jeroboam. But Jonah noticed that it didn’t change the wicked King and hence Jonah might have concluded that showing mercy to wicked people will not change them! However, God’s sovereignty prevails over man’s prejudice!
Although Jonah was a prophet and was able to perceive God’s message clearly, his prejudice caused him to overlook the divine mandate. So Jonah’s fleeing to Tarshish was an intentional act fuelled by his own prejudice! The Ninevites were Assyrians, known for their cruelty! Jonah wouldn’t mind even being killed (since he had asked the sailors to throw him into the sea) but he could not stand to see wicked people taking advantage of God’s mercy! [Adapted from: Unlocking the Bible by David Pawson]. In fact he made a shelter sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city (Jonah 4:5) though he stated in Jonah 4:2: “… for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm…”
Is it not the picture of many believers today? John 17:2 says God has given authority of all flesh to Jesus Christ so that He may give eternal life to them! In Acts 18:10 the LORD spoke to Paul “I have many people in this city” (of Corinth)! The whole people on the earth are God’s creation and God loves them. Hence God wants all people to turn from their wickedness and turn to Him! (Acts 17:30) However, like Jonah God will send people like us to preach the good news of His forgiveness!! (Romans 10:11-15).
Jonah’s refusal to go to Nineveh did not deter God from executing His will – He gave Jonah a second chance and commanded him again to go to the same place! (Jonah 3:1 &2)
The amazing fact is that the people of Nineveh from the least to greatest (the King) repented and turned from their wicked ways!! God was watching all these episodes and when God saw the signs of real repentance in the lives of those cruel and wicked people, God forgave them!! God is the same today! He expects His servants who received His word to go out to all the world and preach the good news to ALL people! If we preach, people will repent and God will forgive them!
Are we holding back in sharing the GOOD NEWS because of our prejudices? Let go of prejudices and go let the people free through the power of the gospel!
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
The Gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes! Romans 1:17