Reading Jonah, I felt I had a new pair of eyes. I hadn’t noticed a lot of this story before. I recognized a lot of Jonah’s characteristics in myself. I laughed yet identified with Jonah as he ran away from the Lord’s calling to preach in chapter 1. And then I really identified with him when his world seemed to be falling apart around him, not only affecting him but the crew and those around him. When Jonah was brought to knees in prayer in the belly of the fish, he prayed such a heartfelt prayer full of repentance and promise:
7 As my life was slipping away,
I remembered the LORD.
And my earnest prayer went out to you
in your holy Temple.
8 Those who worship false gods
turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
and I will fulfill all my vows.
For my salvation comes from the LORD alone.”
What I love the most about the book of Jonah though is that when he prophesied to the city of Ninevah, the people listened. They repented. They sought God and He relented and had compassion on the city.
What if Jonah never prophesied to Ninevah? What if he missed his chance? A whole city would have been wiped out because of their sins. This makes me wonder how many chances I miss on a day to day basis to spread the love of God. What if I am someone’s only chance to hear about God and bring them to repentance? Crazy to think about that!
Following the book of Jonah is the book of Micah. I just love this verse from chapter 6… it’s the what’s next to Jonah’s people of Ninevah:
8 No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
When we fail—not if but when—we fail knowing that Jesus has paid the price for our failures, our sins. And thank the Lord above for that because I know—I really know after just finishing the Old Testament—how far I have fallen from the standards of God.
Then a few books later, is Zechariah. Another favorite verse and what an encouragement in our failures:
6 …It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies…
So when we fail and fall into sin, we can rest assured that Jesus paid the price for us. And thankfully He has not left us alone on this earth but has left us His Holy Spirit to dwell in our hearts until He returns. Thank you Jesus!!
The above photo is from Creation Swap, text added by me from Lost Type.