Monday 04 October 2010

Bible Book:

"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai, saying 'Go at once to Ninevah'... But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." (v.1, 3a)

Jonah 1:1 - 2:20 Monday 4 October 2010


This is the beginning of a story about God relating to a humanbeing and their resistance to God's call.

The name Jonah means dove. Many names in the Bible have particularmeanings, and they are often important to the story. A dovefeatures in the story of Noah and the flood (Genesis 8:8-12) and Mary and Joseph offered asacrifice of a pair of turtledoves or pigeons when they took Jesusto the Temple (Luke 2:24). Jonah certainly experienced thechaos of stormy waters, and he was sacrificed to the storm at hisown suggestion.

God's call came to a number of people in the Old Testament, theprophets Joel (Joel 1:1) and Micah (Micah1:1) for example. The call to Jonah is specific however - go toNineveh. Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire, whichwas Israel's deadly enemy.

Joppa was an important seaport in ancient times - it is now theport of Jaffa in modern-day Israel. It was in Joppa that SaintPeter had a vision which led him to realise that even if hedisapproved of people, God welcomed them (Acts10:9-16).

Storms were seen as indicating the absence of God. Here itrepresents God's displeasure, and the sailors knew something hadcaused that. Their great efforts are no use against this mightystorm, and in the end they throw Jonah into the sea and makesacrifices to God. The storm subsides, but just as God has takencare of the sailors, Jonah is also in God's care - in the belly ofa large fish!

Some people say that the story of Jonah's three days in the bellyof the fish reminds them of the time Jesus was in the tomb, betweenthe crucifixion and the Resurrection.

Many of the psalms in the Bible express the human plight and trustin God. Jonah indicated that he trusted in God to deliver him. Godcalled Jonah, and although he was running away, God continued tocare for him.

To Ponder

Have there been times when you felt like runningaway from God? Why? What happened?

Why do you think God chose Jonah to go toNineveh?

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