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Jonah 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
Oh, this is a hard verse for me! Why? I really don't know. I just know I don't like this verse because I have to identify with Jonah. There have been times that instead of being overjoyed at the conversion of someone, I have actually found myself angry or disappointed that someone came to church or turned to Christ. Maybe it is because I know that I, myself will need to make changes, like perhaps loving what I consider to be unlovely. Woe is me. Lesson Learned: Who am I that God would love and forgive me? If God can and does forgive a sinner like me then I need to remember whence I came and be glad and rejoice when a sinner come to Christ. I need to be willing to leave my comfort zone for the sake of someone else.
Jonah 4:2-3 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
God is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, of great kindness, and instead of being grateful for all that He has done for me, I often become resentful if the "heathen" receive from God what they don't deserve. Lesson Learned: I am as heathen in my heart as anyone else. What if God gave me what I deserved? I would be in hell. Praise God for His salvation and that He saves to the uttermost! He took my feet from the miry clay and set them on the rock to stay and will do so for any sinner that is willing to repent to turn to Him.
Jonah 4:4-11 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
Praise God He saved Ninevah. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Lesson Learned: God is no respector of persons. He made us all. He has pity on us all. He knows we are pitiful lost sheep, wandering, who need a shpeherd.
I look forward to meeting Jonah one day and hearing "the rest of the story".
The Story of Jonah ends abruptly. I wonder if Jonah went on in obedience to the Lord or if he continued sulking and going his own way. Lesson Learned: Do not sulk when things don't go the way you think they should. Do not feel sorry for yourself. Instead, rejoice in God's goodness and His works and continue to obey.
Maybe Jonah knew some Ninevites personally and this is why he became angry. He may have not liked the face that God was blessing the one(s) who perhaps had wronged him or had lived a horrible lifestyle. Lesson Learned: Although someone may have hurt me through certain circumstances, I need to learn to forgive just as I have been forgiven and to rejoice when I see God's blessings on them.
I am sure there are many other lessons that we can learn from Jonah. I am thankful for the few that God has pointed out to me in recent days. Below are the first three parts in lessons from Jonah.
Jonah 3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
I wonder if Jonah would have received more than 2 chances. God gives me chances over and over! Oh how great is His mercy! What if He gave me only that second chance? Where would I be? Lesson Learned: My God is ever merciful, forgiving, loving, longsuffering. I should never presume upon His mercy, but instead should be willing to obey His commands the first time.
Jonah 3:2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
God's Word was very clear to Jonah. His responsibility was to obey. I too have a responsibility to obey the One I call Lord. Lesson Learned: If I don't know God's Word, what are the chances that I will obey? I need to make God's Word a daily part of my life so that I continually get to know Him better. In doing so I will be more apt to obey Him.
Jonah 3:3-4 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
Jonah decided to become wholehearted about his job. Once He was willing to obey, he did not waste time. Lesson Learned: The Bible says to be wholehearted about serving God. Wholeheartedness would include using my time wisely in a way that is pleasing to God. Perhaps I can get that task that God has given me done quicker and better if I obey right away rather than thinking it over and trying to decide if I want to do it.
Jonah 3:5-8 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
Jonah's Obedience brought results. He proclaimed God's Word and the king and people of Ninevah believed and repented.
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Jonah 2:1-10 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
Jonah 2 - Seven more lessons from Jonah. The first seven are here.
I love how God surprises us sometimes in our prayers. I love how His ways are not our ways. This story actually took place over a year ago.
Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I love how God delights in answering His children's prayers. Here is a wonderful true story of how God took care of one of His children in unexpected ways.
There was a family who was about to lose their home due to hard economic times. They put their house on the market and it was not long before someone had a contract on the house and they were given a closing date. The date grew closer and the seller had no where to go. They asked the Lord for wisdom and guidance and to give them a place to live. It was specifically prayed that God would give them a place before the closing date. It looked impossible – closing was only a week away and they still had no place to go. They were cleaning things out and packing up so the next family could move in. The new family had set up an inspection on the house. Right before the inspection, God sent a heavy rain. Whenever it rained heavily, their yard would tend to catch all the downhill rains and become saturated. Because of this, they were told there was a septic problem. The expense of this caused the contract to fall through. God told the owner, don’t worry I’m going to take care of this. God gave the owners someone who paid cash for the house and then allowed the owners to stay in the house and rent it. This was the story in a nutshell. In order to protect privacy, I have told only bits and pieces of this story.
This was such a surprise and a delight. The family never really wanted to move, but were doing so of necessity. They had often felt that God wanted them to stay put and serve Him right where they were. However, they were willing to go if that was what God wanted. They obeyed and God did the rest. The Lord had mercy and heard their prayer.
Psalms 4:1 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness: thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me, and hear my prayer.