Biblical Story Of Jonah And Lessons
Jonah 2:1-2 “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly. 2:2 “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 you heard my voice.
Romans 9:15 “For he says to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”
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The book of Jonah is about God and how great his heart is towards prodigal sons and daughters who ran away from him. Jonah has a prophet of God who was instructed by God to go to Nineveh and informed them all the things to befall them. The people of Nineveh then, are known as a city filled with a reputation of cruel and wicked people and they are people that often boast about their power and courage. The people of Nineveh were extremely cruel toward Israel and caused a lot of problems in the past. Due to the things done to Israel by the people of Nineveh coupled with the fact that the journey was miles away, Jonah never wanted to obey God’s calling, rather than going to Nineveh, entered a ship going to Tarshish, thinking of fleeing from God’s presence forgetting the fact that God is everywhere. His disobedience to God’s instruction created huge consequences on those on the ship he boarded as a great tempest arose on the sea and threatened to capsize the ship and until Jonah was thrown into the sea before things were calm on the sea. One’s disobediences to God can affect others, even my family and destiny if not repented off.
God never gave up on Jonah and the people of Nineveh because he is slow to anger, loving and compassionate. Jonah paid a fare to leave God’s presence and ultimately, paid a price for his sin. There is no price worth getting out of the presence of God. There is no guarantee of protection, satisfaction or peace outside the will of God. Without God in the plan, it will be full of crisis and disaster. Leaving God’s presence always makes us go down a backslidden way. We shouldn’t be selfish of God’s love, rather we should extend God’s love to others. Jonah ran away from God as he doesn’t want him to extend the same love to the people he doesn’t love. Our ways are not God’s way, Jonah believed the people of Nineveh deserve judgement but God proved to him that there is nobody he can’t pardon once they are repented of their sins. God is a merciful God who loves sinners but hates their sins. Even after Jonah was thrown into the sea, God had mercy on him and kept him inside the belly of the fish for three days. This tells us that no matter what, when God is ready to use you, nothing can stand in his way until you answer to his calling. Though Jonah tried to leave God but God never left him alone.
The Biblical lessons about Jonah talks about ways of God and teaches us the things expected by God from his believers. Listed below are some of the lessons obtained from the Biblical story of Jonah.
- We have work to do: Matthew 28:19 “Go all of you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
From the book of Jonah, we can realize that God has something to say to us and we have work to do for him but we have to make ourselves available for it. God called us for a propose and something meaningful. We should never lose sight of that meaning. You can run away from God’s purpose for your life, you have been called to repentance so others through you might be saved. We are the mouthpiece of God here on earth, the life we are living is a borrowed one from God so we can’t afford to waste it on something that is not fulfilling purpose. You should not allow fear to sabotage the mission god has planted in your heart. You have too much to offer this world.
- God don’t give up as human does: Jonah 1:3 “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so, he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”
From the passage, even though Jonah neglected God’s message to go to Nineveh, God never gave up on him. God wasn’t finished with him yet, he sent a great wind on the sea which resulted in Jonah being thrown into the sea. Despite all this, he still prepared a way to save him in the belly of a fish. In like manner, our God is a long-suffering and merciful God, who won’t give up on us but will wait patiently for us. He will use different situations to get our attention and be reminded of him. So let us remember that no matter what we are going through, or any situation you are, there is still hope for you in Christ Jesus. You can always return back to God and he will receive you with open arms.
- Prayer is an essential tool: Jonah 1:5 “So the ship captain came to him, and said unto him. What mean you, O sleeper? Arise, call upon your God, if so, be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. Jonah 2:1 “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly.”
Prayer is something that we shouldn’t just do when we are in trouble but should be as normal as breathing is to us. It should be part of our lives no matter the situation we are in. One purpose of the book of Jonah is to show us the importance of prayer. The people on the ship knew the essence of praying that the captain had to wake Jonah up to pray to his God, even when they made the mistake of praying to smaller gods that don’t answer prayers, after Jonah told them about the living God, they accepted and started praying to the True God. It shows that God is still in the business of answering prayers if we have people that can commit themselves to daily praying to God. You can’t live a successful and meaningful life as a Christian if you don’t communicate regularly to your maker. Even when Jonah was inside the belly of a fish, it was prayers to God that redeemed him and made the fish vomit on a dry land.
- We serve a Merciful God: Jonah 3:10 “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them and he did it not.”
God’s mercy is difficult to understand. No matter what we have done in the past, once we repent of them and have the right attitude of changing our ways, God will indeed forgive us. Nineveh was considered to be a wicked city and their ways coupled with their hearts were against God, yet, they were given a chance to repent. Once they heard the message of Jonah, they believed God, proclaimed a fast and repented. As a result of their actions, God forgives them. This shows that no matter what sin you have committed in the past, pray to God, ask for forgiveness, demonstrate the right attitude of repentance, do your best to change and watch God forgive all your iniquity. God is a merciful God; you have to be merciful too. We do this not just for the sake of those whom we want to forgive but also for our sakes as well. If we are merciful, we will also obtain mercy from God. We should learn to forgive those we offend and hurt us, even give a helping hand to those in need of one. These are ways we can be merciful like our Father in heaven.
2. God is in control: We should never forget that God is always in control. In the book of Jonah, God controls the weather, wind, the fish, the plant that shaded Jonah’s head, the worm that damaged that plant and a lot more. God rules over all which allows him to control everything. Whatever you are experiencing right now, you can always turn to God. Surrender to him your problems and let him direct your path. Also, God has the power to correct any bad character we might have developed while growing up. From the book of Jonah, Jonah had an attitude problem which he might not even realize he had, but God who knows and controls all, uses various situations to bring Jonah into a realization of the problem he has. Likewise, God uses trials and problems in our lives to further develop our character, he never intended us to suffer but he wanted us to grow instead. Preparing us for the future ahead.
These are just some of the best lessons we can learn from the life of Jonah which are important in our Christian lives. We all have our opinions and ideas about how things should happen or be. It is easy to be triggered when things don’t go the way we plan, but we need to surrender our will to conform with God’s will for our lives. Certainly, every one of us can see the importance of the quality of God and every one of us is in need of his longsuffering. Also, going against God’s will only results in failures. We need to rejoice when one obeys God no matter who or where they are. God is not a respect of persons and when anyone turns to God, rejoice as do the angels of heaven. God’s ways and thoughts are not the same with ours. 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering towards us, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”