Jonah Gone Fishing
© 2005 Debbie Turner Chavers

I am studying Jonah right now and trying to understand his choice to run.  Jonah was charged with the task "To go and tell" so a nation could be saved from destruction.  He did not want to tell or to go where the Lord was leading him.  Jonah rose up and fled from God's presence.  Or so he thought. Yet as noted in Psalm 139There is no place that God will not or can not reach you.
One of the things that I have noted in this scripture journey, is that the goodness of God is an opportunity. 
How will we use our opportunity?
Will we run toward God or run from God?
Jonah decided  to run from God. Not a wise choice.
At first glance Jonah appears very selfish and judgemental.  Yet even before his 3 days in darkness he has compassion on his fellow boat mates who are floundering spiritually as well as physically.
Why does he feel kinship with them and not the Ninevites?  Is it because they are in the same boat?

As I read Jonah, I realize just as in "real time" life, I will become confused by looking at man.  Man changes, has his own agenda. So a brief look at Jonah quickly tells me to keep my eyes on Jesus, the light of the world.

Jonah 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
Jonah 1:12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest [is] upon you.

Jonah noted the issue at hand was caused by his disobedience and chose to die rather than submit to God's leading.
God was patient.
God is very patient with us.

In God's mercy, he didn't allow Jonah to perish, but took him to the end of himself. 
Running away from the presence of God puts us in a dark place. 
Yet repentance brings us to His light.

Jonah 2:10  And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry [land].

Note God's mercy.  The Lord spake unto the fish.

Jonah 3:1-2 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

So Jonah finally obeys and the people repent. But Jonah is not happy, in fact he was very angry.
Why?  Even this 4 chapter study points me toward looking up.  To take my eyes off of man and his obstinance.  To study the One who said to go.
Look at God.
Gracious, Merciful, Jehovah God. 
Even in Jonah's " backslid ain't gonna listen attitude" he confesses God's goodness.  This realized goodness of God, eventually causes Jonah to repent of his own way of doing things.  As a people who acknowledge our God is good, we too must repent of doing and living in our own ways.

Jonah 4:1-3 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, [was] not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou [art] a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for [it is] better for me to die than to live.
Jonah 4:4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?

It is amazing that Jonah feels betrayed by God's goodness and mercy when it is extended to others.  Jonah acts like a man betrayed.  He states he would rather die than live.  Jonah is grieved.
Yet God still does not judge Him, but continues to teach him.
Look at God's tenderness and patience.  God prepared a covering..a gourd to shelter him from the heat as he waited.

Jonah 4:6  And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made [it] to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

Father God, is tender toward us, yet wants us to learn.  So the next morning....

Jonah 4:7-11  But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.
And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, [It is] better for me to die than to live.
And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, [even] unto death.
Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and [also] much cattle?

Has God asked you to reach out in mercy to "a Nineveh", from your comfortable place?  Are you having a hard time reconciling or obeying?  I do at times. 

Who? Where? What is our Nineveh?


Referenced  scriptures:
John 4:35  Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

Romans 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

All writing, poetry, posts, art, and photography, copyright © 2012 Debbie Turner Chavers. Protected by US and International copyright laws. All Rights Reserved. Scripture references taken from the King James bible. Would you like to see scripture painted as art? Click on these links or Would you like to hear a bible story read to you? Click here

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