Stirrings of the Spirit

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The Book of Jonah



Jonah is one of the minor prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures.  It narrates the story of the adventures of Jonah who tried to disobey God’s command.  Jonah did not want to follow God’s command that sent him to Nineveh.  After a series of dramatic events, like being eaten by a giant fish, Jonah reluctantly obeys.  Jonah goes to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, Israel’s deadly enemy, and preaches that God is aware of their wicked ways (Jonah 1:2) and that in 40 days Nineveh would be destroyed (Jonah 3:4).  This led to the people repenting, changing their ways, fasting and wearing sack cloth as penance.  God showed them mercy, and did not destroy them, which leaves Jonah feeling angry.  Jonah goes to sit on the outskirts of town to see if God does destroy the city and God makes a plant grow over him for shade.  The next day, a worm attacks the plant and it dies which upsets Jonah.  God uses this as an example of the love he feels for the people of Nineveh.  “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

The book of Jonah is somewhat familiar to me, due to him being swallowed by a ‘whale’ but I never really explored it in much depth before, and upon reading it, discovered many layers to it.  Ultimately, it portrays God as loving and merciful who would rather forgive and save people, rather than punish and destroy them.  It shows the unconditional love and guidance that God gives us, no matter how far away we wander from His will.  We never know what our own role will be in leading others towards God.  Like Jonah’s message helping turn the people of Ninevah back to him, our own actions can inspire the people in our lives to make a change for the better.  Also, the Book of Jonah is a reminder that God is always providing us with opportunities to turn back to him, no matter how many times we turn away from him.  Jonah tries to run, but God never gives up on him, or any of us.

The book of Jonah contains many important lessons that can serve as timely reminders of God’s love and mercy for each of us.

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August 24, 2010 - Posted by | Scripture | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Nicely done

    Comment by Chazz Byron | August 26, 2010 | Reply


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