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By Jerry Ousley

Other than the short book of four chapters there is only one other place in the Bible in which we read of Jonah. Of course Jesus mentioned him in the books of Matthew and Luke using him as an example of His own death and resurrection. He said that just as Jonah was three days and nights in the stomach of the fish so He would be in death, in my own words.

As far as the history of Jonah we read about him in the book that bears his name and also in 2 Kings 14:25 which tells us that he prophesied of the restoration of the territory of Israel from the entering of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah, meaning from the northern border next to Syria to the Dead Sea.

But Jonah is more noted for his disobedience to God than for his obedience. We can only imagine that before the command to go to Nineveh that Jonah was obedient to God, as well as afterward. We aren’t told if this prophecy was before or after his book. We do know what was written in his book. He basically told on himself. He spoke of his disobedience, his repentance, and then his disgust because God didn’t destroy the city of Nineveh. God taught him some very important lessons and I believe he learned them or he wouldn’t have embarrassed himself by writing about his failure. That’s my opinion anyway.

The fact is that we are all a lot like Jonah from time to time. We run from the will of God. I would like to think that running from the will of God was something I never did. But as I think back on some of the things that happened in my life, I know that it just isn’t true. In effort to do the will of God I know that there were several times I did the exact opposite thinking that it would be the door to open opportunities of ministry. I acted when I should have sat still listening and learning. I’m certain that Jonah justified his flight from going to Nineveh by saying something to the effect of “Lord, Tarshish needs to hear about You a lot more than Nineveh. Why, they are the enemies of Israel. I’ll be called a traitor for going to the city of Nineveh. They’ll probably kill me any way and accuse me of being a spy. But now Tarshish, Lord there’s a place that needs to hear about You!” There are many ways we can justify our actions and make them sound like we’re still doing the will of God. My Dad told me one time, “Son, you can twist the Bible around to make it mean whatever you want it to mean. But that doesn’t make it true.” He’s right. We can leave out key words and phrases, take it out of context and say pretty much whatever we want to say and claim that’s what the Bible says. Still, that doesn’t make it right. When we read it and quote it for what it really says in the correct context then often our philosophies are blown out of the water.

Just like Jonah we have repented. It’s a noble story to think about Jonah who was given three days to think about his disobedience down in the belly of that great fish. But let me ask you, who wouldn’t think about repenting if they found themselves swallowed by a great fish and trapped inside of it like that? I know that I’d do a whole lot of repenting and might even confess to some things I didn’t do just in case I did them when I got out! If I found myself alive in the stomach of a big fish you’d better believe that I’d be doing all I could to make things right with God. He may not let a big fish swallow us but there are times it may seem like that’s the case. Our God won’t make us do anything we don’t want to do but He can sure allow us to get into a situation that will greatly influence our decision. In fact and in reality we are all in a position like that. We don’t have to be saved. We can refuse to come to the Lord. But the consequence is eternal death in hell. Now who in their right mind wants that? We can choose to disbelieve it, ignore it or whatever, but it doesn’t change the situation. No, the best and safest thing to do is to repent and fall in love with Jesus.

After Jonah made his three day trip in a single day and gave the prophecy to Nineveh the Bible tells us that he propped himself up on a hill awaiting the destruction of the city. But the people repented and God changed His mind. The city was not destroyed. Jonah then got angry because God didn’t fulfill His word. God was reacting to the souls of people. They repented. Jonah should have thought about his own disobedience and repentance only days before. But instead he was angry at God because by not destroying the city it made Jonah look like a fool.

Have we ever gotten angry because something turned out right that was doomed to turn out bad? We should think about Jonah and his decisions or we might think long and hard before we go fishing again.

Jerry D. Ousley is the Author of five books, “Soul Challenge”, “Soul Journey” “Ordeal” “The Spirit Bread Daily Devotional” and his first novel “The Shoe Tree.” Listen to the daily broadcast Spirit Bread. Find out more by visiting http://www.spiritbread.com

or email us at jousley@frontier.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.comCHRISTIAN WRITERMAKE A WEBSITE

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