Jonah – The Reluctant Prophet

Jonah was a Man of God and a second generation prophet. Amittai his father was a prophet from Gath-hepher during the reign of king Jeroboam II (786-746 BC). God used Amittai immensely and the same would have been expected of his son Jonah. Since his childhood Jonah would have experienced the Grace and Power of God and gotten to know Him personally.

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.” But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. − Jonah 1:1-3

Jonah MapNineveh is a mere 500 miles from Jonah’s hometown of Gath-hepher but he choose the journey to Tarshish which was about 2500 miles from Joppa. This showed how reluctant he was to go to Nineveh. Nineveh drew comparisons from  Sodom and Gomorrah, and we know how God destroyed those cities. They were such an unscrupulous group of people, that the Book of Nahum is all about prophesies of judgment and destruction of Nineveh. No wonder Jonah had his qualms about making the trip to Nineveh. So he choose to ignore God’s call and decided to go in the opposite direction.

God’s wrath descended upon the ship he was traveling in. When the sailors aboard the ship realized who was Jonah 2responsible for this,they threw Jonah into the sea and at once the violent storms calmed down. But God still had a plan for Jonah. He did not leave him to die in the sea. God always has a Plan for his people. And He commanded a great fish to swallow Jonah, where he remained for three days. Inside the belly of the great fish Jonah prayed fervently.

“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” − Jonah 2:7

God heard Jonah’s prayer and ordered the fish to spew up Jonah on the beach. A second time God spoke to Jonah and told him to head to Nineveh as he was going to destroy the wicked city in 40 days. This time Jonah obliged and went to Nineveh and proclaimed all that God had told him. On hearing his words the people of Nineveh turned from their evil ways, put on sackcloth and repented of all their sins.

Archaeologists have found the remains of the Assyrian civilization of Nineveh and in it found idols of ‘Dagon’ which when translated means the ‘Fish God’. Many biblical scholars believe the fact that Jonah survived an ordeal involving a ‘Great Fish’ made his outcry to the citizens of Nineveh to throw away their idols more consequential. Even Jonah’s act of  disobedience is used by God for bringing deliverance to the people of Nineveh.

Jonah was merely an instrument in God’s hands, an empty vessel. God used Jonah to save 120,000 lost souls. God uses us in the same way. Jonah was quick to forget the Grace Of God and criticized God for changing his mind and not destroying Nineveh. He said to the Lord,

“Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”- Jonah 4:2

How often do we do this in our lives? We haven’t done anything to receive His grace, it is freely given to all, yet we question God for showing grace and forgiveness to our fellow beings when the truth is that we couldn’t face even a single day without His Grace.

God has a plan for each one of us. It does not matter who our ancestors were, but God has chosen us. Many times when God gives us a gentle nudge in a particular direction we tend to ignore it and go our own way. We pray that God let Your will be done in our lives but in the end do only that which lies within our comfort zone.  If God can use a stubborn and bitter man like Jonah he can use anyone. We just need to get rid of our pride and be as empty vessels and allow God to fill us with his spirit.

“Today, Jonah’s mission to the Ninevites is commemorated by the Fast of Nineveh in Syriac and Oriental Orthodox Churches.”

51 Comments Add yours

  1. lyndondb says:

    Some times I wonder/feel as if my life were a play with God’s characters all around me to influence and direct my life.The Holy Spirit revealed to me this morning to question: Is Jonah really about his Journey?, 3 days in the belly of a whale? disobedience – or is it really about Jonah and his lack of the fundamental Commandment of God; to love God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might. AND to love your neighbor as yourself..Jonah hated the people of Nineveh. So maybe the primary goal of God was Jonah’s lesson…..?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Even Jonah’s act of disobedience is used by God for bringing deliverance to the people of Nineveh.: THIS SPOKE TO ME AND REMINDED ME OF WHAT JOSEPH TOLD HIS BROTHERS (WHOM HE FORGAVE FOR NEARLY KILLING HIM AND SELLING HIM INTO SLAVERY INSTEAD). “YOU MEANT IT FOR EVIL, BUT GOD MEANT IT FOR GOOD.” GOD’S ABILITY TO GUIDE EVENTS ENCOURAGES ME, ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER GOOD, EVEN MY BAD CHOICES.

    Like

  3. The Gospel of Barney says:

    Been spat out on a few beaches myself! Good post!

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  4. The more I read the prophets, the sorrier I feel for them. It’s not easy to be called, is it!

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  5. Christos says:

    This is wonderful. Thank you for writing this, #learning

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  6. davidsmith4002 says:

    Great post about a great story. My favorite part is Jonah’s pique when the Ninehvites listen to him and repent! His disappointment that God does not destroy them is classic human nature! On another point, though, I always thought Tarshish was Paul’s Tarsus.

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  7. anchorrock4 says:

    Thank you for like and for this informative sharing. Someone has likened God to a bloodhound. He never gives up on us in spite of ourselves. Isn’t that amazing?

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  8. Love this post ~ my daughter titles her discomforting calls ~ “Her Jonah Moments”. She knows what she must do while recognizing the place of discomfort ~ We were just discussing this today and your post showed up. God is Good ~ Amen :Y

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  9. Given a tough assignment it can be natural to want to run and hide…but there’s nowhere to go. Might as well jump in and get started! Great story!

    Like

  10. poemistic says:

    loved it. may god bless you

    poemistic.wordpress.com

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  11. Havefaith007 says:

    Wow! That’s very interesting. I’ve always loved the story of Jonah. It’s a great encouragement that God still wants to use us even if we were once disobedient to His call. When Jonah repented during his trial (fishy trial that is) God forgave him and gave him another chance.
    One thing that is disappointing in the story is that the Bible doesn’t record if he learned his lesson when he was upset with God for sparing the Ninevites. I’d like to think that Jonah learned his lesson and realized that God loves all people in this world. And that He wants to give everyone a second chance when they do wrong.
    Amen to God’s awesome grace!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. trotter387 says:

      Jonah is attributed as the writer of the book with his name therefore under inspiration (in God’s favour) it is natural to conclude that he had understood and learned from the experience. The reason we can also draw this conclusion is focused on the fact that we the reader see God’s right to be gracious to the sinful and accept that we don’t always know what it best.

      Great account.

      Remember if you had asked Jonah was he humble and loyal before the assignment he would have said yes. So the best way to test our faith is to accept the assignment of all Christians today and follow in Christ’s footsteps CLOSELY

      Liked by 1 person

  12. daylerogers says:

    I really enjoyed this. Your perspective on Scripture is not only spot on but passionate. Love your heart. Thanks for the like on my blog.

    Like

  13. Zestwriter says:

    Hey ..this is very good work and I agree, God has a work for everybody. Thanks and God Bless.

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    1. Anonymous says:

      aWESOME MESSAGE !! May the Lord continue to bless your ministry.
      Barron

      Like

  14. Reblogged this on A Pastor's Thoughts and commented:
    Some very good thoughts on Jonah.

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  15. iwriteauthor says:

    Fantastic -well researched historical bible study. This story and you your blog is packed with info! Thanks! and thanks for visiting my blog as well. Blessings!

    Like

  16. kimi17 says:

    What I meant by all present day Jonahs is that it is upto all of us to spread the word. Whatever be the medium in which God uses us.

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    1. sarvsohal says:

      Amen and may the Lord God be glorified through all the teaching of the gospel. God Bless

      Like

  17. Wade Phelps says:

    Brilliant and very in-depth article… May I use this for our local bible study?

    Like

    1. kimi17 says:

      Ya that was my intention.😃 Please revert back with your insights after your bible study.

      Like

  18. Jack Curtis says:

    And now that we have built Nineveh again, where are our prophets?

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    1. kimi17 says:

      But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
      We all are the present day Jonahs. Its up to us to transform this Nineveh and not run away to Tarshish.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Thank you for liking ‘Count it all joy.’ I love this post. A wonderful reminder of what God can do in our lives if we let him.

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  20. F. B. Marie says:

    Reblogged this on ffimagedesign and commented:
    I enjoyed this blog

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  21. Douglas Abbott says:

    “Even Jonah’s act of disobedience is used by God for bringing deliverance to the people of Nineveh.” Yes. God is the ultimate chess player. He employs heavenly judo, using even our rebellion to accomplish his plans. Thanks for writing.

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    1. kimi17 says:

      like the analogy,:)

      Like

    2. Esther says:

      I have been so beelwderid in the past but now it all makes sense!

      Like

  22. Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am so flattered that you found something there that helped you decide to follow me.

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  23. photojaq says:

    Thank you! I’m so glad to find this blog and will look forward to further posts. I’ll also peruse past ones as I have the time.

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    1. kimi17 says:

      Hope to interact with you in future. Please leave your comments and feedbacks either through the ‘Contact Us’ page or via email at thejordanvalley@gmail.com.
      thank you for reblogging ‘Power of the Tongue’. God Bless

      Like

  24. Wow! Such an insight into the prophet Jonah. Good work. God help us to swallow our pride and become humble like Christ.
    http://kingdompeoplenetwork.wordpress.com

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  25. isabeljazmin says:

    Wow, profound! Thank you for sharing this information with the world.

    Like

  26. isabeljazmin says:

    Reblogged this on isabeljazmin and commented:
    Perfect: ” We just need to get rid of our pride and be as empty vessels and allow God to fill us with his spirit.”

    Like

  27. Godshotspot says:

    Thanks for liking God’s eyes He surely watches out for you to protect you always. God bless

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  28. Godshotspot says:

    Thank you following God’s HotSpot.wordpress.com. Your post is amazingt. God bless

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  29. Good lesson and good research. Actually, it appears to me that Jonah didn’t “forget” God’s grace. He remembered it, and he was angry because God showed it to the people of Nineveh. But maybe you were only saying that Jonah had forgotten the grace God showed to him in giving him a “second chance.” He indeed had forgotten or at least ignored it. And you’re right–we often get upset because God shows his grace to others as well as us.

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  30. james1948 says:

    Good research.

    Like

  31. nice lesson, I past it on to facebook. Hope you get lots of readers.

    Like

  32. Enjoyed reading this! Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my blog and read through! God Bless!

    Like

  33. SLIMJIM says:

    Great devotional, timely in light of a Saturday series I’m doing over at our blog on Jonah.
    God bless you.

    Like

    1. kimi17 says:

      Will surely visit your blog on Saturday to get your perspective on it. Thanks

      Like

  34. Joyce says:

    Thank you for recently visiting my blog. I like your retelling of the story above of Jonah. It was a desolate, dark and lonely place physically for Jonah to be in for those three days. I think it took that experience for him to finally see the ‘light’ literally and figuratively once he obeyed God. It has a strong message for God’s people today and for those who do not know His son, it can be one of an ongoing darkness in life. We all can learn so much from the stories of the Old Testament. God bless you in your ministry.

    Like

  35. Godshotspot says:

    God bless you for wonderful blog. God bless

    Like

  36. Godshotspot says:

    Thank you for following godshotspot. God bless for your wonderful work

    Like

  37. annetbell says:

    Such a clear presentation. Thank you for the lesson. Blessings. . .

    Like

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