This past Saturday in our Men's Bible Study, Jim, who was also the worship leader that morning shared insight to the book of Jonah, that is, we read the whole book of Jonah and opened up the rest of the morning for people's insights and what scripture spoke to them. Jonah, one of the minor prophets, I found to be a very interesting book. I mean, we all know the story from children's stories, but this time the book spoke differently to us (to me). Some themes that came out of the men's group were: Obedience, running from God, Faithfulness, heart of God (His compassion and mercy), evidence of what happens when we repent and much more.
Jonah ran from God because he feared going to Nineveh. He was a Jew and they lived in Assyria. There were cultural divides. He didn't want be be rejected. So he disobeyed God. His actions almost cost the lives (the souls) of sailors on the ship that he was running from God. He repented through the belly of a fish (3 days/3 nights - and he rose again - sound familiar). He was thrown up on shore and then he was restored in his ministry to do God's will. He preached the truth - Repent - people humbled themselves before God and repented wearing sack cloth. The king even repented and changed the ways of his people. They were saved and God had mercy on them. Jonah got mad (they weren't destroyed and all of his fears went away) God provided for Jonah (shade) and then took it away (and Jonah got angry again). Jonah was questioned by God, Jonah heard God cares for even the lost and sinful. God's mercy is beyond any of understanding. God is love.
The end of Jonah (Jonah 5:10 But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
When we find ourselves in God's will and seek His kingdom (and not ours), then great and wonderful things happen - People find God's mercy and salvation. Cities, Nations and even animals are saved. When we listen...