Shark Week…Sort Of…
In honor of shark week I thought I’d share some reflections from one of my favorite Biblical accounts, the events of Jonah. I realize that many people focus on Jonah and the giant fish (there is no Biblical record of the giant fish being a whale…but it was obviously a big fish and that is the connection I’m using for shark week so…), but it is Jonah’s time on the boat and his visit to the city that contain the even more impressive miracles. We’re actually doing a 5 week study on Jonah in the near future at CrossRoads where we will dig into more of the historical aspect as well as the many other miracles recorded in the book. However, as a prelude, here are three reflections from the book of Jonah:
- God can and will use anyone for His purpose: Throughout the book of Jonah, excluding his underwater adventure, Jonah has an attitude of defiance against God’s call on his life. You would think God would turn to someone more willing. However, God is consistent in His call to use anyone and everyone for His purposes.
- God can and will use every situation for His purpose: Although Jonah appears to sleep through it, the book of Jonah records that the boat was in the midst of a large and intense wind and a large or intense storm (also interpreted whirlwind). It was in the midst of this storm that Jonah acknowledges that He was running from God and in this same storm the men on the boat acknowledged Jonah’s god as God. Although they had each called on their own god, they ended up praying to Jonah’s god as God. They not only prayed to Him but also asked His forgiveness for them throwing Jonah overboard. Then they acknowledged that since Yahweh, Jehovah was God, He could do and had done whatever He wanted. They were admitting that their situation was a fulfillment of God’s divine purpose.
- God can will use every nation for His purpose…if they are willing: Despite all of the wicked and evil things committed by the nation of Assyria in Jonah’s day, God determined that they were worth saving (side note: all people, all nations, all people groups regardless of race, creed, color, past mistakes or religious beliefs matter to God so they should matter to any Christ follower). Although Jonah’s message was to the capital city in Nineveh, The entire nation followed the lead of the king of Assyria who was living in Nineveh. Everyone repented at Jonah’s preaching; not just a portion of the city, not just some of the political parties in the city, not just the 1% of the city or the 99% of the city, but together the government of the city and the people of the city acknowledged that they had sinned against God and repented. As a result, the Bible records that God relented, or literally sighed in relief away from the destruction that Nineveh was headed towards. For another 150 years, the Assyrians continued to rule as the dominant nation on the planet and were even used by God as a tool of discipline against Israel. God can and will use any nation, people, people group, corporation, organization, individual or family…if they are willing to put their faith and trust in God.