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JONAH’S REFUSAL TO PREACH AT NINEVEH
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Sometimes it looks like God is playing with man and sometimes it looks like God is God and that he does not play with man. In the case of Jonah, you might say God was even playing with Jonah. But one thing we should understand is that God knows every intention and motive of man behind his every reason for his every action. Since he is God, he doesn’t kid. His love could keep you that it looks like he is weak or old. But in any case, God is God and not man.
God does not behave like man who does not see your heart, neither your intention for every action you exhibit outside. Thank God he is not man else Jonah would have been destroyed for disobedience. Jonah was a notable prophet of God during his time, which fell within the time Assyria was the second world power. For the record of the world powers, get it from my eBook of Rapture with title Rapture: the Past, Present and What to Expect in Future” published by westbowpress, a Division of Thomas Nelson and zondervan USA.
You may have read from the Bible about its report on the prophet Jonah and his stubborn character. You may have judged him to condemnation because he seemed to be stubborn to God. But have you considered if you have disobeyed God before? Think well, were you destroyed? You may not agree that it is true, but when God reminds you through your conscience, you will remember that you have disobeyed God before and he did not kill you immediately.
Every one of us might have disobeyed God in one thing or the other, and yet God has been merciful to us as he was to Jonah.
The same thing applied to the prophet Jonah who was sent to an errand by God, to go and preach repentance to Nineveh, the capital City of Assyria the second world power. You might say you have not heard of Assyria as a world power, how much more the second one. But do you know the world powers? How many are they? Your mind might quickly remember those nations which built one nuclear energy or chemical weapons as world powers, they are not world powers.
Yes, when I asked somebody this question saying, “which nations are the world powers”? He called out 1. Germany 2. France 3. Japan 4. China etc. I stopped him immediately and said to him what Jesus said to the Sanhedrin and the Sadducees about the question of resurrection, Jesus said to them ‘’you err because you know not the scriptures’’.
World powers are not what the world today knows them for. World powers of the Bible are called ‘’the kings of the earth’’ Ps.2:2-4. The Psalmist said ‘’the kings of the earth gathered themselves together against the Lord and his anointed’’. These were literal kings on earth, and the Bible said they were seven in number Rev. 17:10. It might interest you to know them, but you will have their full activities in the book of Rapture titled “Rapture: the Past, Present and What to Expect in Future’’ published by westbowpress, a Division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, USA.
However, Jonah might have had personal reasons for rejecting to go and preach the message of repentance to the people of Nineveh as at the time in question. You have to understand why someone behaves the way he or she behaves. People might say since God sent him to go and preach repentance to the people of Nineveh, why did he refuse, does he not want them to repent? You don’t understand. God himself understood it better than anyone else. It was the reason he did not kill Jonah at the same time.
If it were you and you were the prophet and what happened to him happened to you, you would do the same thing he did? At the time of Assyria’s period as world power, they handled Israel badly. The people of Northern Israel which had their capital at Samaria were the tribes they dealt with. Judah was not involved and although the Assyrian king wanted to bring them in, but God hindered them.
The people of Assyria rubbished Northern Israel, and rubbed raw pepper into their eyes. They killed without mercy their young and the old. They killed babies while sucking their mothers’ breasts. Pregnant women were not only raped, their babies were ripped off. These were some of the things Jonah considered as Sacrilege, and so those kinds of wicked people should not see God’s mercy to be saved in any way.
But Jonah was aware that once any man or woman realizes his or her sins and confesses, that God will forgive such person immediately. So he did not want to offer them that opportunity since they dealt with his people of Israel without mercy. But God wanted to save the people and grant them pardon. If God were man, the world would have been destroyed for a long time before now.
Honestly speaking, if it were I myself, there is no hiding of feelings, I would have done what Jonah did even more. Perhaps he witnessed with his eyes the killing of his father or mother. Or he might have witnessed the killing of his child or wife, since they were God’s instrument for punishing the sins of Israel at that time.
But from my own point of view, God knew he was right in his action as a human being.
Yes! That was the reason he was not changed with another prophet, but was still allowed to continue with the message to Nineveh. Even when the prophet decided to be thrown into the sea in other to terminate both his life and the message, God would not allow the Wale to harm him, instead, the Fish became a Private Jet in the sea, or plane to convey his servant to his preaching post, and the fish obediently turned towards Nineveh and finally delivered him unhurt to Nineveh.
So when the prophet arrived out of the sea and lifted his eyes to the city, he saw welcome to the great city of Nineveh. Then it was clear to him that “no man can battle with the Lord”. Then he decided to preach the message anyhow.
The prophet was initially going to Tarshish, but as God was involved, and the Fish must obey the voice of the Lord, Jonah found himself at Nineveh at last. When he lighted from the fish on the sea shore, he lifted his eyes and saw the sign board saying to him ‘’Welcome to Nineveh’’. He therefore decided to preach nothing but the message of condemnation, and the people still repented and were saved.
God asked him if he wanted him not to save about six score thousand people who do not know their left from their right Jonah. 4:11, this is to mean that in spite of the fact that Nineveh was the Capital City of the ancient and wicked Assyria, not all the people in the City were bad. There were people who could not join themselves in the iniquity of the City or the country as a whole.
This was the area which Prophet Jonah did not see or observed in his judgment of the City. What the national Government was doing or did to the people of Israel was not a collective will of the whole country. But Prophet Jonah generalized the whole country together, but God saw a different group to be saved.
But what we were saying is that the prophet had personal reasons why he did not want to preach to the City of Nineveh. Although God has his right as God, his thoughts are higher and yet purer; we do not understand him at times like this. He does not commit sin or iniquity, whatever he does is right. But if I had been Jonah, I would have done the same thing, may God bless us- Amen.