Don’t Be Like Jonah
like Jonah? But Jonah was a prophet, a
man of God commissioned by God to bring his word to the nation of
II Kings “He restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain, according to the word of the LORD God of Israel, which he spake by the hand of his servant Jonah, the son of Amittai, the prophet, which was of Gathhepher.”
But in addition to
his mission to preach and prophesy to
Jonah 1:2 “Arise, go to
This was an assignment that Jonah
did not want to do.
Jonah 1:3 “3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
This gives us the first reason that
tells us that we should not be like Jonah.
Jonah did not like the assignment that God gave him. Jonah did not want to bring the word of God
to the enemies of his country; so he tried to run and hide from God. He’s going to Tarshish
instead, which city by that name we don’t know.
If it is the one in
Psalms 139:3-10 “THOU COMPASSEST MY PATH AND MY LYING DOWN, AND ART ACQUAINTED with ALL MY WAYS. FOR there is NOT A WORD IN MY TONGUE, but, LO, O LORD, THOU KNOWEST IT ALTOGETHER. THOU HAST BESET ME BEHIND AND BEFORE, AND LAID THINE HAND UPON ME. Such KNOWLEDGE is TO WONDERFUL FOR ME; IT IS HIGH, I CANNOT attain UNTO IT. WHITHER SHALL I GO FROM THY SPIRIT? OR WHITHER SHALL I FLEE FROM THY PRESENCE? IF I ASCEND UP INTO HEAVEN,
THOU art THERE: IF I MAKE MY BED IN HELL, BEHOLD, THOU art there. If I TAKE THE WINGS OF MORNING, and DWELL IN THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE SEA; EVEN THERE SHALL THY HAND LEAD ME, AND THY RIGHT HAND SHALL HOLD ME.”
We are familiar with the next part of the story of Jonah; how God brought a great storm against the ship that Jonah was in, how he was found to be the cause of their trouble, tossed overboard and swallowed by a great fish, called a whale in some translations. Then we see Jonah repenting and praying to God to remove him from his difficulty. God hears the plea of Jonah, causes him to be placed on dry ground and repeats his instructions.
Jonah 3:2 “Arise, go unto
So Jonah goes but did Jonah go to
When he had finished warning the
city about God’s judgment and the wrath that is to come upon them,
Jonah 3:10 “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.”
Jonah 4:1 “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.”
Jonah has no love
for these people, they are enemies of
Matthew 5:44 “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”
Jonah proclaimed God’s message because it was a duty that he could not escape, not because he followed the way of God and loved his enemies. This is another reason for us not to be like Jonah.
We should not be like Jonah when we
do not get our way.
Jonah 4:5 ” So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.”
Jonah goes out of
the city to the east, apparently to a high place where he could see the city
and sits, angry, pouting; waiting for God to rain destruction down upon
Jonah 4:6-7 “6And 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. 7But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.”
Jonah is angry
again, for a different reason. This
small comfort that perhaps eased his anger against
Jonah 4:10-11 “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. 10Then 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: 11And 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?”
Should God not have mercy and compassion on those that repent of their sins and turn to him regardless of what those sins might have been? Should God not accept the repentance of even those who are our enemies and forgive them even if we don’t? God says he should, even if they are our greatest enemies.
There are four ways that we should not be like Jonah:
1.) We can not run and hide from God; we must willingly and cheerfully do God’s will to the extent that we can so long as God gives us breath.
2.) We must carry out the commission of God with joy and understanding, reaching out to and teaching all peoples, even our enemies that their souls might be saved from a devil’s hell. Not because it is our duty but because of a genuine love for the souls of men; because of compassion for our fellowman, whoever he or she might be.
3.) When our work does not achieve the results we want we must accept the will of God, change our attitude and thinking if that be necessary, and as the apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 6:9 not be “WEARY IN WELL DOING.”
4.) When we do not get our way, wallowing in our anger like a hog in a mud hole and pouting just makes us more miserable, solves nothing and is not the way that a Christian should be.
William L. Schwegler, Heritage Manor South Nursing Home, October 9, 2008