Jonah – Heart Lessons Bigger than a Whale

17 Dec

Jonah, he’s famous for surviving in a fish for three days.  But, what else do you remember?  The story is full of lessons that have nothing to do with a whale.

Let’s look at three traits exhibited by Jonah.

1. Disobedience. Jonah is in the fish because he attempted to run from God’s instructions to go to Nineveh and preach.

2. Self-centeredness. Once his circumstances are unpleasant (in the smelly belly of a fish), Jonah cries out to God. Once on dry land again, Jonah does head for Nineveh to preach as instructed. But, when the people there repent, turning from evil, Jonah only gets mad. He’s irritated that God sent him to preach a wrath that God mercifully decided not to bring as a result of the people’s humbling response to what Jonah preached. Jonah didn’t seem to rejoice in being part of God’s mercy on Nineveh, only upset that he was inconvenienced.

 3. A lack of compassion.  Jonah doesn’t care about the people of Nineveh. God brings a vine to grow over grumbly Jonah, and then causes it to wither. Jonah complains again, to the point he’d just rather die than live this way. He has no care for the people of Nineveh, and God demonstrates this to Jonah with the vine. Jonah cares more about the vine because it offered him a benefit; the vine meant more to Jonah than the people in Nineveh.

My question, to myself and to you:  How are you like Jonah?

I’m afraid there’s a lot of Jonah in all of us if we are not continually offering our hearts to the Lord for searching and cleaning.

And least you think Jonah is a metaphorical tale, take a look at Matthew 12:38 – 41. Jesus acknowledges the peaching done by Jonah in Nineveh. Jesus acknowledges that the people of Nineveh repented.

Isn’t it reassuring that God can use us even when we have so far to go in our own lives? Even when we are disobedient, selfish and uncaring. He still has plans and his plans will still prevail. Let’s be sure to stop and offer our hearts to God every day so we can be joyfully involved in what he is doing – instead of whining about ourselves.

Bible Reading Completed to Date:

Old Testament: Completed through Nahum.

New Testament: Completed through Revelation Ch 8.

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