She Reads Truth is doing something new for Lent – every Friday the reader’s share their own thoughts on a certain passage of scripture. This is my response for the week.
This week we were asked for #shereadstruth to discuss Jonah 1 &2.
The first thing I want you to do is forget all you know about Jonah – because what most of us know is about Jonah and the fish. There is so much more to know!
Did you know, Jonah is the prophet who Jesus Christ compares himself
Jonah was running FROM the Lord. You are doing one of two things in your life right now: running TOWARDS God’s will for your life, or you are running FROM the will of God in your life. Jonah refused to preach to Nineveh, where God had called him, and ran towards Tarshish.
When you hear the word of God, do you hear it primarily as an interruption or an invitation? Jonah saw God’s word to him as an interruption. You would have too: you’re a successful prophet, God is blessing your nation, and now you’re being called to minister to some ruthless people
Jonah saw this instruction from God an interruption to what HE saw as his calling, so he ran from it. But don’t think you won’t (or haven’t ever) do the same. God might be calling us to something and we may be running from it. Read what Steven Collins shares about Jonah, Israel (where Jonah is from), and the city of Nineveh:
Jonah knew Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian Empire which was an enemy and existential threat to the kingdom of Israel. Jonah, close to the inner politics of the Israelite kingdom, knew very well that if God destroyed Nineveh, it would be a tremendous boon to the kingdom of Israel and it would prolong the power and strength of the kingdom of Israel. Indeed, it could even restore more of the lost greatness Israel had enjoyed in previous times! However, Jonah already knew that God had been merciful to the kingdom of Israel in spite of its sins under Jeroboam II, so he also knew that God could conceivably be merciful to Nineveh as well…Jonah realized that if God could be so merciful to sinning Israel, he might be just as merciful with sinning Assyria. If Assyria survived, Jonah also realized its power would likely overwhelm Israel in the future. Jonah loved his nation and people, and he made a plan. He thought that if he was the person who was assigned by God to bring this warning to the Assyrians, the Assyrians could not repent if they never got the warning from him. Jonah reasoned his own refusal to go would result in God’s destruction upon Nineveh and Jonah’s nation, Israel, would be spared for a long time into the future. So Jonah decided to make sure Nineveh could not repent or be spared…by refusing to go to Nineveh to deliver the message that they needed to repent. (Steven Collins)
What are you calling your current situation? It becomes what you call it.
Call it and it’ll be it because God will speak life into it. Don’t call it what it seems to be, call it what God says it is. (Furtick)
And then the fish. That fish was sent by God and it swallowed up Jonah.
And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Jonah 1:17
Three days, three nights – just like Christ who spend three days and nights in the belly of the earth before rising again. And in Jonah’s prayer which begins the 2nd chapter, Jonah states, “salvation comes from the Lord,” (Jonah 2:9).
And with that, the Lord commanded the fish to let Jonah out. And God redeems.
In chapter 1 Jonah has excuses, in chapter 2 he has regrets:
Today’s excuses are tomorrow’s regrets dressed in disguise. (Steven Furtick)
I know this all too well. I ignored God’s call about a year ago, and I ignored what He was asking me to do.I didn’t like where he was calling me, so I made excuses and I ran towards my own Tarshish. And then about 3 months ago, my excuses became my regrets. But, as Furtick puts it, God turned my misery into my ministry. God used my disobedience to bring me to where I am today – which is where this blog began, which is where my life started changing, where I started becoming who He created me to be.
photo credit to my brother, Daniel. Follow him on instagram @ an_idiot_abroad