Jonah Chapter 1
This was the capital of the Assyrian Empire, a very ancient city near the Tigris river. It was a wicked city full of violence, idolatry, bloodshed, lying, oppression of the weak, and many other sins. God doesn't destroy until He warns first. Also the iniquity of a region has to get so full of sin that it is beyond repentance as in the case of the Amorites and others told of in the book of Josiah and mentioned by God to Abraham back before their iniquity was complete or full.
God has promised Abraham and his descendants the whole land of Canaan but they did not receive it in the lifetime of Abraham because their sin or iniquity was not yet complete or past the point of no return. Instead judgment on Canaan is delayed until the days of Joshua. God gives nations a chance to repent before final destruction is allowed. This is why I gat concerned for the United States.
I use to think Jonah was just scared and timid and didn't want to obey God because of fear but as we study Jonah in the later chapters we will see a different picture. It isn't fear that causes him to flee, it is the fact that he just didn't want God to save Nineveh. They were oppressors and enemies of Israel. Why Jonah thought there was any place in heaven or the earth that God was not present, I don't know. I guess this was way before the day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How Jonah could sleep during a storm after running from God really makes me wonder. I doubt I could do that. Guilt is not a very good sedative for sleeping. Maybe he felt justified and didn't think Nineveh deserved the grace and mercy of God.
These men with Jonah were probably worshippers of some false god and knew enough to sense the danger and the need for everyone in the ship to call upon their god. This worked out so Jonah had to tell them of the real God who created heaven and earth. So even though Jonah thought he was running from God, God used him as a witness to these men. Notice the next verse shows that at the words of Jonah, the men feared exceedingly.
Jonah wanted to save the men with him so he knew that for the storm to stop he had to be thrown overboard.
We see how hard they fought to spare the life of Jonah even to save their own lives but now in the next verse we see them praying to the God of Jonah. This is how I believed these men found the real Lord that they didn't know beforehand.
They gave up the fight and finally did as Jonah requested them to do.
I wonder if Jonah was frightened. The bible doesn't tell us all things but I would be scared if it were me.
Now we see that these men worshipped God and sacrificed. So on their behalf good was done as they witnesses the power of God to cause and then calm the storm.
(Jon 1:17) 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.
God prepared a fish. It had to be a large fish but it was not a whale, that was assumed, but the fish actually saved Jonah's life or he would have drowned.
Jesus compared His death and burial to the experience of Jonah.
For this reason there are some bible teachers that believe Jonah actually died and was resurrected but that is speculation. It takes for interesting discussion though when we read and study the book of Jonah.
Jesus uses the experiences of Jonah to foretell of His death, burial and resurrection.
This is a good story along with the words of Jesus to remind us that there is a way out of sin as individuals and as a nation. Repentance, out of sin and into Christ. Those that fail to repent will be accused at the day of judgment by the men of Nineveh who repented at the preaching of Jonah.
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