Lessons from the Prophet Jonah

  • June 25, 2015
Thursday 25

Jonah 1

The Lord’s commands are clear—He tells believers when to act, where to go, and what to do. He also provides the means for following His directions. The prophet Jonah was told to leave immediately for a certain city and cry out this warning: “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown” (Jonah 3:4). Instead, Jonah did something foolish (and altogether human). He ran.

Because he was a prophet, we can assume Jonah had studied the Scriptures and knew God intimately. Even so, displeasure over his assignment clouded his judgment, and he became convinced he could flee the Lord’s presence. Jonah was wrong. God sent a great storm and isolated him for three days inside a smelly fish. In other words, the Lord didn’t relent until the prophet agreed to comply.

Jonah learned that running away from the Lord doesn’t release us from His commands. Whether we refuse outright or quietly choose to pursue our own agenda, we simply cannot silence His call. Our Father will neither forget a directive nor change His mind about it, and so the Holy Spirit continues prompting us until we do as instructed.

People who run from divine direction may attempt to silence the Spirit’s reminders by filling their life with distractions. They know what God wants from them but are too proud, stubborn, or scared to comply. What we must understand is that God will pursue us—stripping away diversions and crutches to get our attention. Wise believers obey Him promptly rather than waste time and talent by running.

Bible in One Year: Psalms 76-78

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1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,

2 Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me."

3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.

4 The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.

5 Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.

6 So the captain approached him and said, How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish."

7 Each man said to his mate, Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us." So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.

8 Then they said to him, Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"

9 He said to them, I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land."

10 Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, How could you do this?" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

11 So they said to him, What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?"--for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy.

12 He said to them, Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you."

13 However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them.

14 Then they called on the LORD and said, We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O LORD, have done as You have pleased."

15 So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.

16 Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.

17 And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

4 Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

1 God is known in Judah; His name is great in Israel.

2 His tabernacle is in Salem; His dwelling place also is in Zion.

3 There He broke the flaming arrows, The shield and the sword and the weapons of war. Selah.

4 You are resplendent, More majestic than the mountains of prey.

5 The stouthearted were plundered, They sank into sleep; And none of the warriors could use his hands.

6 At Your rebuke, O God of Jacob, Both rider and horse were cast into a dead sleep.

7 You, even You, are to be feared; And who may stand in Your presence when once You are angry?

8 You caused judgment to be heard from heaven; The earth feared and was still

9 When God arose to judgment, To save all the humble of the earth. Selah.

10 For the wrath of man shall praise You; With a remnant of wrath You will gird Yourself.

11 Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them; Let all who are around Him bring gifts to Him who is to be feared.

12 He will cut off the spirit of princes; He is feared by the kings of the earth.

1 My voice rises to God, and I will cry aloud; My voice rises to God, and He will hear me.

2 In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; In the night my hand was stretched out without weariness; My soul refused to be comforted.

3 When I remember God, then I am disturbed; When I sigh, then my spirit grows faint. Selah.

4 You have held my eyelids open; I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

5 I have considered the days of old, The years of long ago.

6 I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:

7 Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again?

8 Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promise come to an end forever?

9 Has God forgotten to be gracious, Or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Selah.

10 Then I said, It is my grief, That the right hand of the Most High has changed."

11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.

12 I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds.

13 Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God?

14 You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples.

15 You have by Your power redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.

16 The waters saw You, O God; The waters saw You, they were in anguish; The deeps also trembled.

17 The clouds poured out water; The skies gave forth a sound; Your arrows flashed here and there.

18 The sound of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook.

19 Your way was in the sea And Your paths in the mighty waters, And Your footprints may not be known.

20 You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.

1 Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

2 I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,

3 Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.

4 We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.

5 For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children,

6 That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children,

7 That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments,

8 And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.

9 The sons of Ephraim were archers equipped with bows, Yet they turned back in the day of battle.

10 They did not keep the covenant of God And refused to walk in His law;

11 They forgot His deeds And His miracles that He had shown them.

12 He wrought wonders before their fathers In the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.

13 He divided the sea and caused them to pass through, And He made the waters stand up like a heap.

14 Then He led them with the cloud by day And all the night with a light of fire.

15 He split the rocks in the wilderness And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths.

16 He brought forth streams also from the rock And caused waters to run down like rivers.

17 Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert.

18 And in their heart they put God to the test By asking food according to their desire.

19 Then they spoke against God; They said, Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?

20 Behold, He struck the rock so that waters gushed out, And streams were overflowing; Can He give bread also? Will He provide meat for His people?"

21 Therefore the LORD heard and was full of wrath; And a fire was kindled against Jacob And anger also mounted against Israel,

22 Because they did not believe in God And did not trust in His salvation.

23 Yet He commanded the clouds above And opened the doors of heaven;

24 He rained down manna upon them to eat And gave them food from heaven.

25 Man did eat the bread of angels; He sent them food in abundance.

26 He caused the east wind to blow in the heavens And by His power He directed the south wind.

27 When He rained meat upon them like the dust, Even winged fowl like the sand of the seas,

28 Then He let them fall in the midst of their camp, Round about their dwellings.

29 So they ate and were well filled, And their desire He gave to them.

30 Before they had satisfied their desire, While their food was in their mouths,

31 The anger of God rose against them And killed some of their stoutest ones, And subdued the choice men of Israel.

32 In spite of all this they still sinned And did not believe in His wonderful works.

33 So He brought their days to an end in futility And their years in sudden terror.

34 When He killed them, then they sought Him, And returned and searched diligently for God;

35 And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer.

36 But they deceived Him with their mouth And lied to Him with their tongue.

37 For their heart was not steadfast toward Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant.

38 But He, being compassionate, forgave their iniquity and did not destroy them; And often He restrained His anger And did not arouse all His wrath.

39 Thus He remembered that they were but flesh, A wind that passes and does not return.

40 How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert!

41 Again and again they tempted God, And pained the Holy One of Israel.

42 They did not remember His power, The day when He redeemed them from the adversary,

43 When He performed His signs in Egypt And His marvels in the field of Zoan,

44 And turned their rivers to blood, And their streams, they could not drink.

45 He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them, And frogs which destroyed them.

46 He gave also their crops to the grasshopper And the product of their labor to the locust.

47 He destroyed their vines with hailstones And their sycamore trees with frost.

48 He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones And their herds to bolts of lightning.

49 He sent upon them His burning anger, Fury and indignation and trouble, A band of destroying angels.

50 He leveled a path for His anger; He did not spare their soul from death, But gave over their life to the plague,

51 And smote all the firstborn in Egypt, The first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham.

52 But He led forth His own people like sheep And guided them in the wilderness like a flock;

53 He led them safely, so that they did not fear; But the sea engulfed their enemies.

54 So He brought them to His holy land, To this hill country which His right hand had gained.

55 He also drove out the nations before them And apportioned them for an inheritance by measurement, And made the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents.

56 Yet they tempted and rebelled against the Most High God And did not keep His testimonies,

57 But turned back and acted treacherously like their fathers; They turned aside like a treacherous bow.

58 For they provoked Him with their high places And aroused His jealousy with their graven images.

59 When God heard, He was filled with wrath And greatly abhorred Israel;

60 So that He abandoned the dwelling place at Shiloh, The tent which He had pitched among men,

61 And gave up His strength to captivity And His glory into the hand of the adversary.

62 He also delivered His people to the sword, And was filled with wrath at His inheritance.

63 Fire devoured His young men, And His virgins had no wedding songs.

64 His priests fell by the sword, And His widows could not weep.

65 Then the Lord awoke as if from sleep, Like a warrior overcome by wine.

66 He drove His adversaries backward; He put on them an everlasting reproach.

67 He also rejected the tent of Joseph, And did not choose the tribe of Ephraim,

68 But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.

69 And He built His sanctuary like the heights, Like the earth which He has founded forever.

70 He also chose David His servant And took him from the sheepfolds;

71 From the care of the ewes with suckling lambs He brought him To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance.

72 So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them with his skillful hands.

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Publish Date November 21, 2017
Causes of Rebellion

Believers are not immune to the dangers of doubt and pride.

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