Repentance Follows a God sent Prophet
The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord . He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.-Jonah 1:1-3 NLT.
Disobedience and Correction
Jonah is an example of an unwilling prophet. His story shows us the classic example of God using someone who is initially unwilling, but is still used to fulfill God’s purpose.
After going through a storm, being thrown off of a ship and being swallowed by a whale Jonah then relented to God. Sometimes it takes great correction and trials from God, to bring us back on the path that we are meant to be on.
When I read the scriptures further, something stood out. The seamen were religious men. They might not have believed in Yahweh, but they believed that there was a God and turned their hearts and lives to Him when He demonstrated his power.
As for Jonah, I could see him sulking, as some of us often do when doing something is not for our benefit. I also could see him being thrown off the ship, sinking to the depths, gasping for breath and then being swallowed by what must have seemed to be a mountain. Only God could cause an animal that big, which likely did not eat flesh, to swallow a human being.
Imagine being in the esophagus and stomach of a living animal. Water would be everywhere. How then did Jonah survive?
With God’s help!
God would have altered the natural workings of the whale, to protect Jonah and keep him alive while he was in the whale’s stomach. That is how powerful our God is, because Jonah was not digested those three days.
After being spewed out on the beach, Jonah received his second chance and you can see that He didn’t hesitate. If it were me, I would be scared out of my mind.
Immediately, he proclaimed the Word of God.
Jonah was a God sent prophet. Therefore, God not only made way for him, but the hearts of the people were open and ready to heed God’s warning.
The sailors were in the right placed at the right time, to be saved. Though they lost some cargo, they gained their soul. These were good men. Men who did not want to be guilty of murder when they threw Jonah overboard, so they did everything else first. That is why God allowed Jonah to divert, not only to correct him in such a way; but for God to be glorified and these men to also learn about and worship God.
In addition, a nation of 120,000 people were saved. When God sends you somewhere, it means that it is the ordained time and season for you to carry out that specific work. Any later and the people of Nineveh might have rejected the warning and God would have to destroy them.
Anger is a rotten, poisonous root that will corrupt even the most saintly of men. The prophet was at risk of being corrupted and God had to use a plant and a worm to teach Jonah a lesson, again. A more subtle approach. For anger, on the flip side, can corrupt subtly; if one is unaware.
The book of Jonah, allows us to see a great demonstration of God’s power. It allows us to see that He is also a master strategist and will move heaven and earth, and everything in it to save his children.