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The Runaway Prophet

Updated: May 16, 2023

A little bit of Jonah, a little bit of Jesus.


I didn't start connecting with the biblical characters until I started asking myself:

Where, when and how do I also display these traits in my life?


The story of Jonah is one I believe we all grew up highlighting in the old testament, similar to Abraham's who was told he'll have as many descendants as the stars, Noah who built a boat and took in two of each animals, Joseph and the multicolored coat, Moses, Pharaoh, the 10 plagues, the red sea, the 10 commandments, the Israelites and the idols, Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath, Job, Daniel in the lion's den, and Jonah being swallowed by the big fish. As I reflect, I too have the option to either be like Jonah and lean onto my own understanding or walk in obedience to God's command.


Jonah 1:1-3

God spoke to Jonah, son of Amittai but instead of obedience, Jonah ran away.

We later read that he did not run away because he heard God's voice. As it is written in 2 Kings 14:25 his title reads as such:

Jonah,

Servant of the word of the Lord, the God of Israel

Son of Amittai

Prophet from Gath Hepher


There is an intimacy between God and Jonah through their direct dialogues, that removes the idea of him fleeing to hide from God. Instead, Jonah explained that he fled to Tarshish to prevent the Ninevites' access to God's mercy.


Jonah 4:1-2

"He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity."


Jonah knew God's character, His compassion, grace, and love, yet he wanted to prevent the Ninevites from accessing the exact mercy granted to him.


Why though?

What is it about the Ninevites and their wickedness?


The Lord's Anger Against Nineveh

Nahum 3:1-4 Woe to Nineveh


"City of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims! Galloping horses and jolting chariots, the clatter of wheels, galloping horses and jolting chariots! Charging cavalry, flashing swords and glittering spears! Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft."

 

Nahum 3:9 "All who hear the news about you clap their hands at your fall for who has not felt your endless cruelty?"

 

Maybe Jonah also felt Nineveh's cruelty, hence his anger toward God when he received a different message.


Where, when and how do I also display these traits in my life?

In which seasons in my life have I tried running away from God after He asked me to do something? Or the times I was upset at God for allowing those who hurt me to still 'live their best lives' after the things they've done to me.

Oh how hurt, bitter, and angry Jonah must've have felt.


But is Jonah justified in his anger?

Am I justified in my anger when God shows mercy to those who hurt me?

Are you?


 

Jonah 1:4-16

In Jonah's disobedience, others turned to God

All the sailors were afraid in the violent storm and each cried out to their idols and threw the ship's cargo in the sea for they had greater faith in those gods to come to their rescue and their own wisdom to lighten the ship's cargo. The sailors noticed their cries to their gods was not working and the only person who had yet to talk to his God was Jonah. When the lot fell on Jonah, and they discovered who he worshiped Jonah1:9, they acknowledged the strength of the Lord, the God of heaven who made the seas and the dry land. And here they were, in a violent storm caused by a great wind sent by the God created the sea and the dry land. They asked Jonah what they needed to do to calm the sea, Jonah 1:12 but in their response was compassion toward him and wanted to do their best and row back toward land instead of throwing him in the sea. However, when they noticed the sea became more turbulent in their own attempts to row to shore, the sailors turned from their gods and their own wisdom toward God, Jonah 1:14-15.

 

Jonah 1:16 "At this, they feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to Him."


Even in Jonah's disobedience, the sailors turned from their idols and acknowledged God's power.

 

Jonah 2

I wonder if Jonah knew how to swim.



Jonah 1:1-3; 2 Kings 14:25; Jonah 4:1-2; Jonah 4:1-2; Nahum 3:9; Jonah 1:12; Jonah 1:14-15; Jonah 1:16  
NIV scriptures from Holy Bible, Zondervan 2020


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