Today’s Tasting: Jonah
Jonah is given a task by the Lord to go and warn Nineveh of their imminent destruction because they are not following the ways of the Lord. Jonah does not want to go to Nineveh so he catches a ride on a boat headed to Tarshish in an attempt to hide from the Lord and the task he has been charged with.
While in route, the seas become very violent and the mariners are afraid for their lives. When they finally figure out that the Lord’s anger with Jonah is the reason, they toss him overboard and the seas immediately calm. This caused them to worship the Lord and offer up sacrifices and make vows to the Lord.
Jonah on the other hand was – at the Lord’s will — swallowed up by a great fish – “Now the Lord had prepared and appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)
Jonah prayed to the Lord from the belly of the fish…giving thanks to the Lord and repenting for his sins. He did not ask the Lord to deliver him from the belly of the fish; however, the moment he rededicated himself to the Lord the fish vomited him out onto dry land – “Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord! And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” (Jonah 2:9-10)
From here, Jonah headed to Nineveh to deliver the Lord’s message. When he arrived, they had heard of what happened to him and at the order of the king, they repented their sins and the Lord showed mercy and didn’t destroy them.
This angered Jonah as he believed Israel’s Gentile enemies should have been destroyed. God however showed Jonah that he loved all…Gentile and Jew alike.
The first part of Jonah – where he lives in the belly of the whale — is one of the Bible stories most of us grow up hearing. Today, I want to focus on the last part of the story. You see, Nineveh was set to be destroyed because of their sinful behaviors – they were Gentiles and they worshiped the fish god Dagon. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria and was a very large city, and its destruction would have ended the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Even though Assyria had historically been one of Israel’s greatest enemies, God showed mercy at their repentance and spared them.
God’s mercy for us is always faithful and never ceases to amaze. I have to tell you however, I much prefer the simplicity of receiving God’s mercy and forgiveness since Jesus’ time. The people of Nineveh wore sack cloths, sat in ashes, and fasted in order to show God their repentance. Today, all we have to do is accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and ask for forgiveness…how blessed are we??
Regardless of how far away from God you believe you are, it’s not too late to receive his mercy…all you have to do is ask.
Tomorrow’s Delight: 2 Kings 15 & 2 Chronicles 26
Hugs & Blessings,