2 Kings 14:23:27


In our study today we read that Jonah was a prophet to Jeroboam King of the ten tribes of Israel. Jeroboam was the great grandson of Jehu. Unlike so many of the other kings of Israel Jeroboam listened to the prophet God sent. Verse 27 tells us God used Jeroboam to save the nation of Israel apparently delaying the judgment of God for the sins of the nation. During the reign of Jeroboam the nation prospered and was blessed but there was a threat on the horizon. Israel and Syria were on and off enemies but Assyria was becoming more and more powerful. They were attacking Syria and becoming a serious threat to Israel.  

There is little these nations can do to defend themselves from Assyria. Assyria was godless and cruel. They would behead the people of the cities they conquered and pile the head at the city gates to instill fear of any city or nation that might try to resist them. To add to the fear the people Assyria captured had fish hooks put through their jaws that were connected to a rope and the people were led out like fish on a string line to other areas Assyria conquered.

God’s ways are not man’s ways.  God decides to send a prophet to the capital city of Assyria. This brings us to the book of Jonah.  God decides Jonah is the man for the job. It appears Jonah did not think so and he runs away. Jonah knew how evil Assyria was and he didn’t want any part of them. As I said, God’s ways are not man’s ways. Jonah is going to learn that you can’t hide from God. God sent a storm and a big fish and put him in “time out.” At this point some people refuse to believe there is a fish that could do this but if God is able to create the heavens and the earth he could certainly create a fish to serve His plan. Even man puts people in a submarine and they stay submerged for much longer than three days. Jesus also referred to Jonah spending 3 days and nights in a fish. In fact, His response might well be words of wisdom to those who can’t believe God could do this. Matthew 12:38-41

From Jonah’s prayer in Chapter 2 we learn that sin leads to captivity and holds us there longer than we planned. His original plan to run from God took him farther and certainly not where he had planned to go.That is usually the way it goes with sin. Fortunately, God was just a prayer away. Jonah prays in Chapter 2. In verse 9 we read of Jonah’s repentance.   

The word of the Lord comes again to Jonah and he goes through the city proclaiming that the city will be overthrown in 40 days. Low and behold the people and the king of the city believe God and repent.

In Chapter 3 Nineveh has repented, but in Chapter 4 we see that Jonah still has some “issues.”  Jonah has pre-judged Nineveh and is expecting judgment not the mercy of God. He is angry that God has been merciful to the city. God has also been merciful to Jonah but he can’t see it. He is blinded by an attitude of expectation and entitlement. Jonah is just like the older brother in the Parable of the Lost Son  in Luke:11-32. The younger son had repented and returned home. The father was pleading with His older son who was angry and will not celebrate his brother’s return or his father’s mercy when the story abruptly ends. We do not know what the son or Jonah decided. What we do know is that their attitude led them away from the father and He had to go out to them. That is what love does.

The Church is called to love. Agape love gives to the person what they need not what they want. Nineveh needed to repent and God gave them a prophet that called them to repent. God so loves the world that He gave His Son that we might be saved and have eternal life because that is what we need.  In our story God is with Jonah because he needs a change of attitude. The world and the evil one want judgment and condemnation. We need to be careful regarding our attitude. The Apostle Paul speaks to this in Romans 12 which is our homework for today.

I always try to remember that Jesus died for my worst enemy, including that guy that was tailgating me on the freeway. May our attitude always be to glorify God in every situation we find ourselves!

Pastor Dave