September 22-Jonah

I have to admit, Jonah’s story is a favorite of mine. Why? Because he’s so much like me…he whines and complains when he doesn’t get his way, like a child, and like some adults I know (me). But God still uses him, and teaches him, and saves him, and never gives up on him. He also teaches Jonah a big lesson at the end of the book, involving a vine, a worm, and a massive overreaction on Jonah’s part (again like me) in which he is “angry enough to die.” Haven’t we all said something liket that in a moment of anger or frustration? Such a short book of the Bible, and yet so much to be learned from it!

From the LCMS website:

A singular prophet among the many in the Old Testament, Jonah the son of Amittai was born about an hour’s walk from the town of Nazareth. The focus of his prophetic ministry was the call to preach at Nineveh, the capital of pagan Assyria (Jonah 1:1). His reluctance to respond and God’s insistence that his call be heeded is the story of the book that bears Jonah’s name. Although the swallowing and disgorging of Jonah by the great fish is the most remembered detail of his life, it is addressed in only three verses of the book (1:17; 2:1, 10). Throughout the book, the important theme is how God deals compassionately sinners. Jonah’s three-day sojourn in the belly of the fish is mentioned by Jesus as a sign of his own death, burial, and resurrection (Mt. 12:39–41).

The Jesse Tree–Day Nineteen

Today’s reading was about Jonah, who seems a rather unlikely prophet. He had a bad attitude, he ran away from God, and he whined. A lot. But it’s stories like these that remind us that God can use any one of us, flaws and all, to accomplish His purposes. The bulk of our reading focused on the well-known whale portion of the story, but I spent some extra time on chapter four, partly because it’s my favorite part of the story, (haven’t we all sounded like Jonah at one time or another, dramatically proclaiming that “we’re so angry that we could die?”), and partly because it really shows God’s mercy to the people of Nineveh, (and their livestock!), especially when He speaks to Jonah in verse 11:

“And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”