ISSL Reflections May 30, 2021, Jonah 3 Post 1

This week closes out our time with the Hebrew prophets and we turn our attention to Jonah. We focus first on chapter 3 of Jonah’s story.

As you read this week’s Scripture, notice who all we encounter and what they say and do.

Jonah 3

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.

When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

Did you notice how this portion of the account begins?

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, ‘Get up, go to Nineveh….”

“ … a second time … “

This account starts in chapter 1 with,

“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, ‘Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me.’ But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” (Jonah 1:1-3)

So, Jonah is not one of those folk selected by God for a task, who immediately reply to God’s direction in the affirmative and set about on their appointed mission?

Apparently not! Jonah flees, runs from, attempts to escape from God’s presence and God’s call on his life.

You might say that is not a great beginning for this fellow and the possibility of accomplishing his mission.

But here we are in chapter 3 of his story and he has made it to Nineveh after all, walks through the city, delivers his message and … what response follows?

As you reread this chapter and notice what follows Jonah delivering his message. What do you think about this? A man is selected for a God-given task, avoids the task, then has a second chance to follow God’s call, and what are the results?

What does this lead you to notice about Jonah, the King of Nineveh, and God?

{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

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