"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. 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
The book of Jonah vividly displays the hard-heartedness of those who have received God's undeserved grace but refuse to extend it to others. The lack of concern of Jonah for the lost--the utter hatred!--is shocking. However, it is no less shocking when we who have been so lavishly forgiven ignore the needs of fellow "Ninevites" around the world. We, like Jonah, are quick to rejoice that 'salvation is of the Lord' when we consider our own deliverance (Jonah 2:9). And we, like Jonah, are reluctant to share the same message of saving grace outside our own borders (Jonah 1,4). Whether we resent unbelievers as Jonah did or simply neglect them, the result is the same--their damnation. Let Joppa serve as a memorial of man's selfishness and God's sovereign grace. And take part in launching the Gospel around the globe.
Let the Gospel which delivered you inspire you to evangelize fellow sinners.
Gospel Meditations for Missions--Joppa & The Gentiles--Day 10
Two things stood out to me as I was reading Jonah chapter 1 this morning. 1) When Jonah said he worshiped the God who made the earth, the mariners, though they did not worship the same god, understood who that God is and understood the power associated with him. They did not want to be in disfavor with this God--the one powerful enough to create the universe. 2) I was struck by this line at the end of Jonah 1 "And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah." It was a blaring reminder to me of God's sovereignty in circumstances. Circumstances don't happen. They are appointed by the Lord.
And my final thought is this: The more I am in God's Word on a daily basis, the more I am reminded of its importance. As I move and breathe in a world that largely believes God did not create the world but that the world "just happened" it is ever so important to be reminding myself of the truth of its Creator each and every day.
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