When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. Jonah 3:10
Jonah was a reluctant prophet in the Southern Kingdom. He heard God’s call to deliver a message but ran the other way. He tried to hide, but it was no use. God had a plan for Him, and as we are beginning to see, God isn’t deterred. God wanted to use Jonah to speak a message to the people in Nineveh, an enemy Assyrian nation.
While Jonah was hiding out in a boat, God caused a great storm to erupt. Thrown overboard by the crew to appease God, Jonah finds himself inside a whale. For three days. Obeying God at the onset would have been a much easier path!
Jonah finally obeys God and goes to Nineveh to warn the people of God’s judgment and the city’s impending destruction. To his surprise, the people actually listen and repent. God delighted in Jonah going to this enemy nation and bringing about their salvation. It is a picture of God’s desire for ALL people to be saved.
Jesus links his life to Jonah when the religious leaders ask Him for a sign. Jesus says the only sign they will see is the sign of Jonah – pointing to this story (Matthew 12:40). As Jonah is in the belly of a fish for three days and three nights, Jesus too will be three days and three nights in the earth prior to His resurrection.
However, where Jonah is frightened and disobedient, Jesus is neither. Jesus uses Jonah as a picture for the people of His great mission…to die for us and to be raised from the dead after three days.
Questions: Have you ever felt God nudge you to do something? Maybe serve in some way, speak a kind word to someone, send a text or note of encouragement, warn a friend of the potential consequences of an unwise decision they are considering? Are you quick to obey and follow through, or do you generally try to hide from it like Jonah?