This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The book of Jonah is a book whose theme is that the LORD is a universal God and has genuine concern for the Gentiles. In this beautiful story Jonah a reluctant prophet, told to go preach to the war like city of Nineveh, but he disobeys and catches the first ship to Spain. We all know the story about the prophet getting swallowed by the large fish (not whale). Let’s pick up from there Jonah goes and preaches and the people of Nineveh repent. Lets read. Jonah 3:5 & 9-10 & 4:1-2 ¶ So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 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. 4:1 ¶ But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. 2 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. It is hilarious that Jonah gets angry at Nineveh’s repentance it seems childish of the prophet. Jonah deems this all as an exercise in futility, because the LORD is gracious and kind. So the LORD gives Jonah a little lesson. It was very hot and the LORD caused a gourd plant to grow up over night, to shade Jonah, this makes Jonah glad. The LORD then sends an east wind that destroys the gourd plant, Jonah is then sorrowful for the plant and wants to die. Lets read the LORD’S reply.
Jonah 4: 9 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. 10 Then 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: 11 And 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? Jonah has pity on a plant but not on the Gentile people of Nineveh. What I love is the depiction on the people of Nineveh being so dumb that don’t know left from right hand, which hints they are to dumb to know right from wrong. Interestingly the Assyrian’s later in history accept Christ and become a large and great church. The lesson to be deducted out of the book of Jonah is that the LORD is merciful, kind and slow to anger even with dumb sinners. The Apostle Paul is also a subject study on this theme that God is reluctant in judgment, and abundant in mercy. Saul later renamed Paul is a Pharisee who persecutes the church. He is a Christian killer. 1 Corinthians 15:9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. Galatians 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: The LORD thinks different than we do. The LORD is going to take a man whose desire is to destroy the church and make this man one of the most important spokesmen for the church. The LORD has a way to turn what seems like disaster into blessing. Paul on his way to Damascus meets the LORD, lets read.
Acts 9:1-9 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the LORD, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, LORD? And the LORD said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, LORD, what wilt thou have me to do? And the LORD said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. This is probably the most dramatic and punishing conversion in the bible. Paul is sent to a mysterious saint in Damascus named Ananias, lets continue in the ninth chapter of Acts. Acts 9:15-17 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the LORD in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, LORD. 11 And the LORD said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
13 Then Ananias answered, LORD, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the LORD said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the LORD, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. This is such an interesting setting of scripture. Ananias is a mysterious figure in the bible, this is the only place in scripture that he is mentioned, he is so close to the LORD in that the LORD speaks to him in a vision to lay hands on Paul which heals and consecrates an apostle. Upon Paul meeting the LORD he begins to spread the doctrines of Christ as enthusiastically as he condemned them. Truly Jesus overcomes evil with good. Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good. A further observation of the LORD’S abundant mercy and longsuffering is the way that the gospel goes to Greece and Rome two nations that for centuries had tried to destroy God’s chosen people Israel.
Today we watch a clash of civilizations and religions with Islam’s sword hacking away in places like Sudan and Afghanistan. All the while Islam trying to convince the world that they are a peaceful religion, nevertheless their barbarous acts bewilder the western world, their peace appears disingenuous. Perhaps only when the world is smoldering in rubble and ash the entire world will come to the conclusion that Jesus Christ is the river of life in a hostile desert of despair. Shalom!
Copyright © 2010 J. Wilder & The Wilder Family Trust dated 2/13/04 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced by any means, graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or by any information storage retrieval system without the written permission of the author or the estate except in the case of brief quotations embodied in scholarly or critical articles and reviews. Teaching others encouraged.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.