Jonah’s Anger

“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 4:1-3 (KJB)

It do not know, and yet I do know; I believe God was displeased with Jonah’s attitude; and he had to be disciplined.  I am not sure by the end of the chapter and short book that Jonah had learned about mercy and grace.

The prophet Jonah was a patriot to the nation of Israel. It was the godly nation.  It was the nation of God’s people. Here he is angry because God had mercy on a heathen people.

Let us who are saved by the grace of God through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ; the only begotten Son of God; was buried, and He rose from the grave, always remember that God desires the whole world to know that He is the LORD God.  That is stated again and again through out Scripture.

Let us rejoice that enemies of God and our faith become our brethren, and love the Lord just as we do.  We too, were once enemies of God, and the cross of Christ (Romans 5:8-10).

Rejoice every time a soul is redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, who is Jesus Christ.

…From the Presence of the LORD

“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before Me. But 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.” Jonah 1:1-3 (KJV)

In the presence of the LORD there is joy, peace, hope, and life.  Out of His presence there is fear, dread, and chaos.

Jonah was an actual man who lived during the reign of Jereboam 2 of the Northern kingdom of Israel (2 Kings 14:25).  He is also mentioned in a teaching by Jesus in the New Testament (Matthew 12:39-41), and Jesus was not referring to a parable, but using Jonah as factual history, and his being in the belly of a great fish/whale.

The central character of the book of Jonah is not Jonah.  It is God.

Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh.  It as a foreign nation which he knew did not believe in Jehovah/YHWH; and Jonah was a patriot of Israel; so he fled, and “went down to Joppa”  hoped on a ship going to Tarshish, paid his fare, and “went down into it.”

It is quite possible that Jonah sold all his possessions to flee.  He was leaving any family he may have had, friends, home, etc. behind to flee from God’s will for his life.

This was one time when this prophet had no intention of obeying God.  Did he know about God’s richness of mercy?  Most certainly he did.  It is probably why he chose to flee.  He did not want to see a hated enemy repent and experience the mercy of Jehovah God of Israel.

Notice the common thread of all who “flee from the presence of the LORD”.  The “presence of the LORD” is the only place of contentment, peace, rest, and fulfillment.  The “presence of the LORD” is the will of God for our lives (those who are in the faith of Jesus Christ).

Please notice the path of fleeing from the presence of God:  Every step is a downward step:

  1. “Went down to Joppa”  (v. 3);
  2. “Went down into it [the ship] (v. 3);
  3. “Was gone down into the sides of the ship…” (v. 5)

Twice in verse three its says, “…from the presence of the LORD”.  There is warning there for everyone who would step out of God’s will for any reason; no matter how reasonable it may seem.

It is shocking to find how easy it is to find the means to flee from God’s will for our lives.  A ship was at Joppa.  It is very possible that Jonah purchased the whole use of the vessel – he being the only passenger, and the other men being the captain and the crew.  We can always find means to flee, but we rarely find the means to do His will.

Did Jonah think he could go some place where God could not find Him? It is not likely.  For Jonah to flee was pure rebellion against the sovereignty of God in his life.  For any one who openly rebels against God’s will they flee “…from the presence of the LORD”.  We all must learn that where God calls us is going to be the place where we are content, at peace and joyous in the LORD.  That all begins by believing what God tells us about His Son Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, and rose again the third day.  Call on Him and begin your life living in the presence of the LORD.

 

The Angry Prophet

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 4:1-3 (KJV)

This prophet who despised the people to whom the LORD had sent him, did not want to see this people forgiven, but rather his desire was to see this mass of people destroyed.  The LORD was having mercy on Nineveh, when He saw their repentance.  Due to their sin Nineveh was destroyed about 100 years later.

Of all things for a preacher to become angry about.  People getting right with God, and changing their hearts and minds about the way they were living.  That is why preachers preach.  There are things worth getting angry about for the preacher.  The murder of the innocent unborn.  The slavery of women and children around the world.  The captivity of drugs, alcohol, gambling, and pornography; and its destruction to our society.  There are many other things for which the preacher to be angry.  Rejoice, however, when people repent of their sins and get right with God.

To give us little bit of background on Jonah; he was a patriot of Israel.  He loved his nation.  He loved his God; and Nineveh was the enemy to himself, his nation and his God.

Let me just end by asking this question:  Is patriotism; love for one’s country more important than following the call and will of God?  I leave the answer with the reader.

-T.A.

Day 64 – Prepare For the Glory of the LORD

All of creation is for the glory of the LORD; even the one’s made in His image; yet we have fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23), and because of Adam’s sin have brought a curse on the created order.

My reading this morning took me through three of the Minor Prophets – Amos, Obadiah, and Jonah.  These are called “Minor Prophets” because of the shortness of the prophecy, not its measure of importance in  prophecy, and the Word of God.

God, in His Word, shows us quite clearly that He will be glorified; and will spare nothing to make it so.  He who spared not even His own Son, to bring us back into His glory.

There are a couple of verses in Amos I want us to consider this morning.  God shows us His glory in the creation;

“Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is His name…” Amos 5:8 (KJV)
“It is He that buildeth His stories in the heaven, and hath founded His troop in the earth; He that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is His name.”  9:6

In Amos the prophet shows us God even in the everyday things that we take for granted; such as the stars, and the rain which nourishes the ground and our crops.  Note, the prophets awareness of where the rain comes from – how it comes from the “waters of the sea”.

Now note how the prophet Obadiah, the shortest prophetic book of the Old Testament ends his prophecy speaking of the kingdom being the LORD’S;

“And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.”  Obadiah 21 (KJV)

Now as we consider the prophet Jonah we see a very reluctant prophet.  We first hear of Jonah in 2 Kings 14:25 where the prophet had spoken in the days of Jeroboam.  When the LORD calls Jonah to a foreign land, Nineveh, the prophet becomes disobedient, rebellious and flees.  God has something else in mind.  He prepares five different things to bring the prophet to where He wants Him to be; and it is not just to Nineveh;

“But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”  Jonah 1:4

“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”  Jonah 1:17

“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.  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.'” Jonah 4:6-8

Notice the five things God prepared for Jonah.  1) “a great wind into the sea”;  2) “the LORD prepared great fish…”;  3) “the LORD God prepared a gourd…”;  4) “God prepared a worm…”;  5) “God prepared a vehement east wind…”

Sad to think that he was more concerned with his own comfort than the souls of these people; most of all the glory of the LORD God.  How am I with that today?  I am afraid that far too often I am like Jonah.

May God help me.

-Tim A. Blankenship