The Problem with Jonah

Do you know those Christians who talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk? Those Christians that claim to know what God says in His word, but don’t follow it? That my friends is the problem with Jonah.

Our community group, a.k.a. small group, from church, is currently studying the book of Jonah. We are going through the study of Jonah by Eric Mason, on RightNow Media, and it is amazing to me the insights that are brought up (1).

There are many aspects of Jonah’s real-life story I didn’t catch onto before.

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For example, when Jonah is directly asked by God to go to Nineveh, and share God’s message to them, he ran away. He spent a “fare” to board a ship, to go about 2,000 miles in the opposite direction God had told him to go. This could mean he spent a small fortune to rent the boat simply for himself to run away.

Jonah thought he could run away from God.

God sends a great storm to get Jonah’s attention and what does he do? He hides the fact that he is the one God is after, and waits until the mariners figure it out, before admitting the truth.

Jonah would rather die in the sea than repent for his disobedience to God. He even tries to convince the mariners on the ship to do it for him, so they would be guilty of his death.

God sends a great fish to swallow Jonah, giving him another chance to repent. God could have let Jonah die at sea, but instead gives him more time to repent.

However, Eric Mason points out, if you look at this prayer, there are many “I’s, me’s, and my’s” in there. Even in Jonah’s prayer, he wasn’t repentant, he was seeking his own desires, even blaming God for throwing him into the sea (1).

It takes Jonah three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, to finally cry out to God in prayer.

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” For you cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me. “

Jonah 2:3 ESV

God has given Jonah so many chances to be obedient, and do what God specifically asked him to do. Even when he finally delivers the message, he is angry Nineveh is not punished.

He has no compassion for an entire people group (Israel’s enemies), and would rather die than see God be merciful and compassionate on them (2).

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Luke 6:46–49 ESV

It is easy to point the finger and blame others for acting like Jonah. You probably can think of at least a hand-full of people who are guilty of pride, a lack of mercy or compassion, and who probably deserve God’s wrath and punishment as well.”

Yet, how many of us are just as guilty? How many of us still haven’t repented of our disobedient and rebellious hearts?

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Our actions flow from our true beliefs.

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

Luke 6:45 ESV

If we truly believe God is the omniscient (all knowing), omnipotent (all powerful), omnipresent (present everywhere), merciful God, who is love – why don’t we obey? Stop running from God and repent of your sin today. Don’t waste another second.

  1. Mason, Eric. “The Book of Jonah.” Video Bible Study. RightNow Media, 2017.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jonah). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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