Archive for the ‘Relationship and Obedience’ Category

Jonah’s Lesson (4:5-8) So Jonah goes out of the city to pout and see if maybe God will destroy them. Pouting? Okay so i have pouted a time or two. It is hot so God causes a plant to grow and give Jonah shade. The text says Jonah was “extremely happy about the plant.” Then, when the plant withers, Jonah wants to die. Doesn’t it seem a little odd that Jonah would be so happy about the plant and so distraught over a plant’s death? In my opinion, Jonah is all mixed up in his priorities, but then who am i to speak.

In this story i see God’s omnipotence as He controls the wind, the sea, the fish and the plant. And all of His power is directed toward a single goal – the reclamation of sinful humans – both Jonah and the Ninevites.

I think this book shows that Jonah knew a lot about God. He presumed on God’s grace and assumed his deliverance while still in the fish. Jonah knew God was compassionate and gracious and would not destroy the Assyrians if they repented. So, although Jonah knew about God, he did not want to obey him. It could even be said that Jonah disobeyed in the name of justice. The Assyrians certainly had committed enough atrocities that they deserved judgment, and Jonah wanted them to get their due. But he was ignoring the sovereignty of God and disobeying God. He also was displaying a double standard. He was forgetting that Israel had been forgiven many times for her sins and that he himself had just been forgiven for his disobedience. He was a walking contradiction. Walking contradiction! i so have a problem with walking contradictions.

I work very hard not to be a walking contradiction, but…. i am especially stirred up by Christian walking contradictions. i am staying away from examples or specifics so that i do not offend anyone who may read this. If the shoe fits wear it? Okay so i’ll use one example. We get people who come into the cafe and order a diet drink of some sort and then purchase a snickers bar with it. Contradiction? Mixed signals at the least.

I see Jonah as a good example of how we tend to judge others and consider ourselves to be better than others. Jonah’s life illustrates his failure to forgive and love. Jesus summed up the whole law in one phrase, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jonah clung with pride to his heritage as a Jew, the chosen people of God, and he condemned the Assyrians. I think Jonah mistakenly thought that he deserved the favor of God. He called on God for deliverance without repenting of his evil. Why did God choose Israel? Because they were the biggest nation? Because they were more spiritual than the rest? No. He chose them out of grace. If you read Eze 16, you will see a good description of what Israel was like and what God did for them. It also describes how they became proud and forsook God. They certainly did not deserve the special relationship with God.

Well i think i’m done with Jonah even though there is much more. Tomorrow is Ann Maries birthday so i do not want to be a walking contradiction who says that she is a gift from God and yet treats her as ordinary so as much as i can tomorrow will be about her. We are going away for a couple of days. As i said tomorrow is all about her and then the remaining two days are about me and I Am. While i am taking steps in the natural i have no clear-cut thus saith the Lord. i am very focused on taking my thoughts captive right now and this is proving to be a challenge with what is happening in the natural. Nothing i have not seen before but certainly things that i had hoped i would never see again. But God!

God is gracious and He does answer Jonah’s prayer and the fish delivers Jonah to the beach outside of Ninevah.

i’m back to Jonah.

God’s Command (3:1-2) 1AND THE word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach and cry out to it the preaching that I tell you. God repeated his command to Jonah to go to Ninevah. I think it shows the grace of God that He gave Jonah a second chance. To me it also let’s me know that when it’s God, He doesn’t give up on me.

Jonah’s Obedience (3:3-4) 3So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city of three days’ journey [sixty miles in circumference]. This time Jonah obeys. It seems that there was no complaint this time. God had gotten Jonah’s attention.

Jonah’s message is a simple one –  4And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown!  There wasn’t a lot of persuasion. I don’t think Jonah tried very hard. He would have gone into town, said his piece and left saying something like, “Well, I told them. It’s their own fault now when God destroys them.” I think this also shows that Jonah hasn’t really changed his attitude. It seems to me he is obeying, but grudgingly.

Ninevah’s Prayer (3:5-9)  5So the people of Nineveh believed in God and proclaimed a fast and put on sackcloth [in penitent mourning], from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6For word came to the king of Nineveh [of all that had happened to Jonah, and his terrifying message from God], and he arose from his throne and he laid his robe aside, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7And he made proclamation and published through Nineveh, By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; let them not feed nor drink water.  8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth and let them cry mightily to God. Yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9Who can tell, God may turn and revoke His sentence against us [when we have met His terms], and turn away from His fierce anger so that we perish not. The people of Ninevah heard him and believed him and repented. And this was a thorough repentance. Everyone from the king down to the cows were crying out.

Inspite of Jonah’s attitude and lack of desire to do what God asked of Him, God recieved His Glory and Honor and in the process an entire people was brought to Him. INSPITE of Jonah!!!!

God’s Answer (3:10) 10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God revoked His [sentence of] evil that He had said that He would do to them and He did not do it [for He was comforted and eased concerning them]. God’s mind was changed.

Jonah’s Anger (4:1-4) 1BUT IT displeased Jonah exceedingly and he was very angry. 2And he prayed to the Lord and said, I pray You, O Lord, is not this just what I said when I was still in my country? That is why I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness, and [when sinners turn to You and meet Your conditions] You revoke the [sentence of] evil against them. 3Therefore now, O Lord, I beseech You, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live. 4Then said the Lord, Do you do well to be angry?

Jonah is furious when he sees the people’s repentance. He knows now that God is not going to destroy them. Here we also see his true heart and further proof that he did not repent in chapter 2. The truth comes out about Jonah’s fleeing from God in the beginning. He knew God would forgive them if they repented, but Jonah hated the Assyrians so much he didn’t want to even give them the chance to repent.

i have never experienced this kind of anger or dislike toward any people. The more i listen to this conversation i realize how patient God is with my conversations. But why did Jonah hate them? The Assyrians were a dominant world power during this time and had even defeated Israel in a few battles and exacted tribute from Israel. Assyria wasn’t just a non-hostile Gentile nation. It was an active enemy of Israel.

So what effect do i to have on an active enemy?

“God seeks comrades and claims love, the Devil seeks slaves and claims obedience.”

Other lessons from the book of Jonah for me are:

  • National sin demands national repentance! Just as this principle applied to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, it also applies to Brandon and Florida.
  • This book is a strong rebuke of a narrow exclusiveness that characterized the Israelites. Jonah, whose attitude was typical of his people, had no desire to see the Assyrians saved — they were the enemy! He fled rather than preach salvation to this distasteful people. And even after finally preaching it, he sat outside the city waiting to see if God would change His mind and still destroy them. When he realized God was indeed going to show mercy to these people, he prayed to die rather than have to witness such a thing! (Jonah 4:1-3). 
  • When i have such an attitude — “i am the only one God favors” ……. “i would rather die than see those people saved!” ……. “i’m not about to preach the gospel to that bunch, that person” — then i have repeated the sin of Jonah. Further, i have failed to experience the extent of the love of God.  
  • i cannot run away from God (Psalm 139:7-12). “Jonah learned, and i would think that i and millions like me would have learned, that when God asks us to do what we do not want to do, it is far easier to go and do it than to run away from it.” “When one sets out to baffle God, there is bound to be a storm” (George L. Robinson). 
  • “The infinite concern of God for life is shown in contrast to the concern of man for the material.”
  • In Jonah i see clearly that “the most unpromising mission fields are often the most responsive.” “From the human standpoint Assyria was the last place an Israelite would choose for a missionary venture, so Jonah took a trip in the opposite direction.”  The Lord is willing to forgive and forget!
  • So i left off with Jonah being tossed into the sea and then…. i find that God is not through with Jonah. A great fish comes along and swallows him.  Talk about having a bad day! Remember, Jonah went down, down, down in the first few verses. Now God is sending Jonah down to the depths of Sheol (2:2). At least that is what it probably felt like to Jonah.

    Jonah’s Prayer (2:1-9) Jonah finally prays and thanks God for his deliverance even before he is delivered. This shows that he is convinced God answers prayer. So i might think that at this point Jonah would repent, especially since he now goes and preaches to Ninevah. But not so fast.

    1THEN JONAH prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly,  2And said, I cried out of my distress to the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of Sheol cried I, and You heard my voice. 3For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your waves and Your billows passed over me.  4Then I said, I have been cast out of Your presence and Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple. 5The waters compassed me about, even to [the extinction of] life; the abyss surrounded me, the seaweed was wrapped about my head.  6I went down to the bottoms and the very roots of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever. Yet You have brought up my life from the pit and corruption, O Lord my God.  7When my soul fainted upon me [crushing me], I earnestly and seriously remembered the Lord; and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple. 8Those who pay regard to false, useless, and worthless idols forsake their own [Source of] mercy and loving-kindness.  9But as for me, I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation and deliverance belong to the Lord!  10And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

    Nowhere in his prayer did he mention his own rebellion and sin, so there is no real confession going on here. He considered himself better than the pagans (cf. vs 8-9). What is sad is that i have already seen that the sailor’s come out looking better than Jonah. I think Jonah is making a big assumption here that God would deliver him. He certainly didn’t deserve it.

    The life of Jonah parallels the history of the nation of Israel, and the phrase, “Salvation is from the Lord” is a key ingredient in that parallel. Like Jonah, Israel was chosen. Like Jonah, Israel rebelled. Like Jonah, Israel received discipline (dispersion and abuse by other nations up to the present day). Israel looks to military alliances and national defense as the solution but until Israel recognizes that Salvation is from the Lord, there can be no ultimate deliverance.

    I think my life is also parallel to Jonah’s experience. God calls me, but i rebel. i search for life in everything else but God until i come to a point in my life where i am so low that i finally recognize my inability and come to the conclusion that Salvation is from the Lord.

    After the knowledge of, and obedience to, the will of God, the next aim must be to know something of His attributes of wisdom, power, and goodness as evidenced by His handiwork. James Prescott Joule

    “The ability or inability to accept a miracle depends on whether or not one spells his God with a capital ‘G'” — Homer Hailey

    The fact that there are obvious miracles recorded in the book of Jonah has caused some — who doubt or deny the miraculous power of God — to label this work as fiction. There are several miracles recorded here, but “so much has been made of the ‘fish story’ that i forget all else about the book of Jonah”. The various miracles recorded in the book of Jonah are:

    • God raising up a storm — 1:4
    • God calming the storm — 1:15
    • God’s commissioning of a great fish to swallow Jonah — 1:17
    • Jonah surviving three days & three nights inside the fish — 1:17
    • God commanding the fish to vomit Jonah out on dry land — 2:10
    • A city the size of Nineveh experiencing such a wide-spread repentance — 3:5-9
    • The Lord raising up a plant, a worm, and a scorching east wind — 4:6-8

    For me the overall message of the book is twofold:

    1. God’s love and concern is for me/all people, and anyone/including me who is willing to repent and turn to God can find salvation (Acts 26:19-20; II Peter 3:9).

     2. God is a universal God. There is but ONE God, and He alone is to be the God of all people. Jonah preached to people, who worshipped Nebo. He warned them and warns me that  they and i must repent and turn to Jehovah, and worship and serve Him only.

    One of the lessons from the book of Jonah for me is:

    • “God’s judgments, even when declared in prophecy, can be averted by genuine repentance.” This is a “crucial theological truth relating human repentance to escaping from anticipated judgment” (New Layman’s Bible Commentary). “Jeremiah 18:7-8 — “At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; if that nation against which I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.”

    This is a mouth full. “At one moment I might speak concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it; ONE MOMENT!

    One: being a particular, unique, a certain

    Moment: an indefinitely short period of time, instant

    Might: express the possibility (This means it is not absolute… at this moment)

    “At one/particular, unique, certain moment/indefinitely short period of time I might/express the possibility concerning a nation or concerning a kingdom to uproot, to pull down, or to destroy it;

    Thank God for the semi colon. A semicolon ( ; ) is a conventional punctuation mark with several uses, mainly for pauses in sentences and breaks in lists. The pause in this sentence is followed by an “if” which is good news for me.

    If: in case that, granting or supposing that, on condition that

    Relent: soften in feeling, temper, determination, become more mild, compassionate, or forgiving, become less severe, slacken:“if granting or supposing that nation/person against which I have spoken turns from its/my evil, I will relent become less severe, soften in feeling, concerning the calamity I planned to bring on it.”

    So if i have this straight, i can change Gods mind, understanding that it is not an entitlement but Grace?

    “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

    It’s a nice quote but where is God in it? Creating relationship with the Father  gives me all the purpose and meaning i require.

    Back on track with Jonah…

    10Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, What is this that you have done? For the men knew that he fled from being in the presence of the Lord [as His prophet and servant], because he had told them. Because he had told them!!!! i do not run into many people who admit they are running from being in the presence of the Lord. The men on the ship had better sense than Jonah, as they were afraid of a God they did not know and Jonah was simply indifferent to the God he did know.

    11Then they said to him, What shall we do to you, that the sea may subside and be calm for us? For the sea became more and more [violently] tempestuous. 12And [Jonah] said to them, Take me up and cast me into the sea; so shall the sea become calm for you, for I know that it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you. These are some unique men. What shall we do to you? i think most men would be much more direct with Jonah and i doubt that they would be offering him the options. Get rid of Jonah and you get rid of the anger of God… right? Jonah at this point would rather die than repent and so he tells them to cast him into the sea. He says i know that i am in sin but i will not or can not change, so away with me. Several years ago i considered that as an option. Death verses Obedience. i could not find anyone that it had worked for so i chose not to pursue it.

    13Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring the ship to the land, but they could not, for the sea became more and more violent against them. 14Therefore they cried to the Lord, We beseech You, O Lord, we beseech You, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You. 15So they took up Jonah and cast him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Eventually the men did what was good for the many, but not before they tried everything they could. They did not want God’s anger to hold them accountable for another man’s admitted sin. i guess i would be as they were and not as Jesus was. He willingly paid the price not only for my sin but all mankind. Possibly as i draw closed to Him and become more like Him, i too may one day die for another.

    16Then the men [reverently and worshipfully] feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. In the midst of Jonah’s sin God uses it and gets worship out of men who did not believe beforehand.

    1:10 shows that the men were amazed that Jonah would do something to displease his God. They spent their life in fear of their gods, trying to please and pacify them. It is ironic and sad that those who worship the true God – the only God worth fearing – and experience His grace, take advantage of His grace and do not live their life in an effort to please Him.

    1:13 shows that the heathen sailors had more compassion than Jonah. They did not want to throw him overboard and tried desperately to get to land without doing that. They begged Jonah’s God’s pardon for what they had to do. This is also a contrast with the man of God who had no compassion on the people of Ninevah.

    Okay there is much discussion regarding whether it’s a whale or something else. i really don’t care, so i am going to refer to the story as Jonah and the sea monster which by the way is how Jesus refered to it. Also if translated in the Greek. ketos— is sea-monster. Much of my research regarding this comes from  Apologetics Press. Just giving credit where credit is due.

    Jonah 1:1-2 God commands Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to them about their sinfulness and call them to repentance. i was not aware that this was the only time in the OT where an Israelite is commanded to actively pursue Gentiles. God’s Covenant with Abraham mentioned that through Abraham’s descendants God would bless the nations, but no Israelite was ever commanded to go to the nations and tell them about God. The Gentiles were supposed to see the difference between their society and Israel’s and be attracted to it.

    1:3 This is Jonah’s reaction to God’s command? NOTHING! He didn’t say a word. He just left town. He just, ignored God. Did he really think that he could just walk away from God? i guess he did and i guess i’ve tried it a few times as well. Sounds really stupid now. But notice the route Jonah took: He went down to Joppa. Found a ship going down to Tarshish, so he went down into the boat. If God is up then down would appear to be bad. Every thing Jonah did took him further from God. i am beginning to relate to Jonah, just like Sampson.

    1:4 This verse shows God’s sovereignty over nature. He sent the wind and caused the sea to heave.

    And get this it’s the heathen sailors who feared and are praying while the man of God is sleeping below. The sailors were praying to the wrong gods, but they were convicted by the events of the sea. Jonah’s lack of reaction is significant. Sin hardens the heart and makes us insensitive. There it is again just like with Adam, Eve and Sampson. James 1:14 But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions). 15Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death.

    5Then the mariners were afraid, and each man cried to his god; and they cast the goods that were in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. 6So the captain came and said to him, What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call upon your God! Perhaps your God will give a thought to us so that we shall not perish. 7And they each said to one another, Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us. So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8Then they said to him, Tell us, we pray you, on whose account has this evil come upon us? What is your occupation? Where did you come from? And what is your country and nationality? 9And he said to them, I am a Hebrew, and I [reverently] fear and worship the Lord, the God of heaven, Who made the sea and the dry land. Jonah would rather be cast into the sea and die than to repent. Then the evil desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully matured, brings forth death.

    Jonah is insensitive to what God is doing. And we see the first of many contrasts between the heathens and Jonah. Jonah is insensitive, but the heathens are aware that something out of the ordinary is going on and they are praying to their gods. Jonah’s statement in 1:9 is the exact opposite of what his actions show. 9And he said to them, I am a Hebrew, and I [reverently] fear and worship the Lord, the God of heaven, Who made the sea and the dry land. NOT!!! Sorry i would not want that said about me when i ignore God, so let me temper my statement and just say, not (small unbolded letters). But really… He does not fear God. If he did, he would have obeyed the first time, and at the least, been praying because of the storm.

    It is for each of us freely to choose whom we shall serve, and find in that obedience our freedom. Mary Richards

    “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permits. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses.” If you do it you get it, if you don’t you won’t!

    i know i used this a few days ago, but it won’t go away. It has been showing up in many of my conversations. If or i should say when as a man of faith, my children and grandchildren read this i would hope that they would pay special attention to this post. i like always looked to Webster’s to get definitions of each word so that i can evaluate where i am in my relationships and more specifically in my relationship with God. So definitions first.

    INTEREST: something that concerns, involves, draws the attention of, or arouses the curiosity.

    i find that i definitely have INTEREST in many of the relationships that i have. In some cases my interest is concern for the individual. i see or hear things that draws my attention or arouses my curiosity, understanding that what is drawing or arousing me may be good or bad. i have much interest or curiosity regarding many things. My mind is in continual thought process. i also have more interests due to becoming a better listener. I hear more thus i am more interested. There is a book that i have read many times over my years, called The Heart Reader. It is about a man who for some reason and through God begins to hear the hearts of everyone he’s around and i would say he becomes curious or interested in people. i don’t think there is any shortage of interest in people today. Interest to me is all the dating or ways to meet ideas that have popped up. Interest to me is the intimacy of dating these days with no commitment to a future. i am concerned that, interest is all it is. And i wonder if it hasn’t consumed the Body of Christ as well. Interest or committed?

    COMMITTMENT: the act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself, a promise, obligation. COMMITTING: to pledge oneself, to bind or obligate, to send into a battle.

    To send into battle! When i commit i am sending myself into battle. i think that’s where i am in most of my relationships including God. i am battling for them. It must be why at the end of the day that i am exhausted. i may lose some skirmishes but i have not lost the battle. But here’s what i must do. i must increase my committment. Not across the board but in specific relationships. i must stay away from what i am feeling about relationships and stick to my committment to them. i must also deal with my perceptions because they are often wrong and they tend to lower or at least lead me to lower my committment level. If i perceive that i am getting no where then why continue. If i perceive that the relationship is one-sided then why would i want to make any committment to it. Ask a wrong question and i get a wrong answer.

    So in closing… Catches my attention, arouses my curiosity  interested in doing it only when circumstance permits OR obligate myself, send myself  into battle and accept no excuses.

    Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. Jim Rohn
     
    i have to go back to Sampson for a moment. i don’t know why but the word entitlement has invaded every thought i have had since very early(long before the sun rose) this morning. For that reason i am just thinking back on Sampson  as i think that’s where it’s cominh from. Sampson wasn’t stupid as i first thought. God had ordained his birth and given him a very specific purpose to begin the deliverance of Israel. He gave detailed instruction as to how he and his family were to live so he had all the information and the application ability that he needed. So if he wasn’t stupid or mentally challenged, how could he repeat the same events over and over and eventually have his eyes gouged out his strength taken away and live out his days in captivity.

    How ironic, he is to begin the deliverance of Israel and he ends up a captive.  Sampson was fully aware of what God spoke to his mother and father. He was fully aware that God intervened in his parents lives in order for them to give birth to Sampson. They had tried for years and it wasn’t happening, that is until God stepped in.

    With all that said, i must believe that Sampson had a sense of entitlement toward God. He expected God to do everything regarding his life. So if he is not stupid then maybe he was to smart for his own britches. He thinks he can toy with sin and God will deliver him. Again he toys with sin and maybe he  just thinks he’s entitled to deliverance by God. Do i have that same sense of entitlement? i toy with sin and then because i have done well in the past i just expect a pass on this one from God. Maybe i expect God to move on my behalf because of what i know or think i know. i want to build a savings account in the bank of God. Today i do as instructed and so a deposit is made into my account. Tomorrow or whenever i come up short on my personal intimate relationship with God, i want Him to use my overdraft protection and take what He needs from my savings.

    See there is a huge difference between mercy and grace extended from God and my sense of entitlement. i see this as a very dangerous place which tries to invade my relationships in every direction. i get offended because i have a sense of entitlement when dealing with individuals. That sense of entitlement replaces my responsibility to do 1 Corinthians 13. Instead of believing the best of someone i criticize them for not doing what i felt i was entitled to or i record a record of a wrong done.

    Entitlement: the right to guaranteed benefits under some program. These rights may or may not be specified and or implied by the one in charge.

    i may think that i am entitled to mercy, grace, peace, but the word does not say that. God says, trust in me and you will have peace. i am not guaranteed to have peace until i trust in Him. And the amount of peace i have is in direct proportion to the amount of my trust in Him. More trust more peace. Little trust, little peace.

    Common sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom. Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when circumstance permit. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results.”

    Jonah is one of the most ridiculed books by scholars. The story of a fish swallowing a man and the man living sounds impossible, and since most  scholars deny the possibility of the supernatural, they reject the book of Jonah as anything but a fairy tale.

    Skeptics frequently speak against the idea of a “whale” in Matthew 12:40 in the King James Version. The idea that a person could actually be swallowed by such a creature and survive is unthinkable. Those thoughts which seem unthinkable can be thinkable for two reasons: (1) history  exists for the possibility of such an occurrence; and (2) the text of Jonah insists that the sea creature in question was orchestrated supernaturally by God for the purpose intended. God specifically “prepared” (mahnah—appointed, constituted, made ready) a great fish. The same term is used to refer to additional direct manipulations initiated by God. He also prepared a plant (4:6), a worm (4:7), and a violent tempest, wind (4:8). There is no point in speculating about the full physical explanation of an incident that primarily is metaphysical, meaning miraculous.  The entire story is miraculous, and as such can not be discussed in an earthly sphere. Jonah’s survival after being inside a sea creature is just as remarkable as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego surviving the “burning fiery furnace” (Daniel 3:27).

    There is one additional item that adds to the validation of this story and that is the translation. The actual text of the book of Jonah states that “the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah” (Jonah 1:17). The Hebrew term (dahg) is the English translation “fish” (1:17; 2:1,10). It is a broad term that “always has the collective meaning ‘fish’. Others insist strongly that “the great fish, which is not more precisely defined, was not a whale” So what am i to conclude? Well, here it is, “it doesn’t matter.” Therefore, let the word used in the book of Jonah to refer to the sea creature that swallowed Jonah, refer to any type of fish—without regard for the technical classification. So, the English word “fish”, can refer to any number of cold-blooded aquatic vertebrates—from a trout, bass, or crappie to sharks, rays, jellyfish, and crayfish.

    However, there needs to be a point of clarification here. According to the present zoological nomenclature, a “whale” is not a “fish”—it is classified as a mammal. Hebrew linguistic experts note no such distinction in the terms used in the Old Testament. The ordinary term for “fish” (dahg) would therefore not exclude the whale in its application.

    i already see that Jonah is different than other prophets because the book of Jonah is not full of prophecies from the prophet, but is instead, about the life of the prophet. Little attention is given to what he actually says. But it does start off the same way the other prophetic books do because we see the phrase, “And the word of the Lord came to Jonah, son of Amittai, saying.” “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

    Proclaim against it, is all i would have needed to hear in order to do the same thing Jonah did. Who wants to tell anyone let alone an entire city that their wickedness has caught God’s attention. i remember three years ago a prophet came to me and told me that i would have to do just that to individuals and more specifically pastors. i wanted no part of it then and still do not, but have had to do it a few times during the past three years. It’s one of those “Thanks for thinking of me God, but no thanks.”

    While most of the other prophets prophesied to Israel and Judah, Jonah’s task was to go to Ninevah and prophesy to them.

    “An ounce of performance is worth pounds of promises.”

    You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough.

    Okay first Adam and Eve and now Sampson.  i see two task out of both these stories. Task one relationship, with the Father, with self and with others. The second task is obedience. Adam and Eve are to populate the earth and Sampson is to begin the deliverance of Israel. Way different types of relationship but relationship none the less. Disobedience… well that fits all of them as well. Now one of the cool things that i see, is that God still moved in their lives and accomplished what He sent His word to do. It didn’t get harder for God but it sure did for Adam, Eve and Sampson.

    Actually as i think on this i would attribute Relationship to Adam and Eve and Obedience to Sampson and yes i see that both relate to both. But as for clarity i get more about the relationship portion from Adam and Eve. i suppose that’s because i can visualize those walks in the garden. A nice breeze cooling us as we smell the sweet aroma of all the flowers and there in our midst is God Himself, just casually walking with us as though he had nothing else to do. And i see tons about obedience and God’s grace with Sampson. I see that there are consequences in relationships as well as disobedience or obedience. Adam and Eve removed from the garden and everything becomes harder. Sampson losses his eyes and ends up dying.

    Sin, crouches at my door over and over and i open the door. i think that often i don’t even lock the door. i like how John Maxwell says that i need to make my decisions early in life so that all i have to do is manage them from then on. Make my decision to not open the door to strangers. i have made my decision to live for Christ but not doing so well on my management of it. All i have to do when someone knocks is look through that little pep-hole and see who’s there before opening the door. Now that leaves me with another realization. Perhaps my sin is no stranger and that’s why i open the door? i used to have a difficult time in determining who was my friend and who was an acquaintance. i set a standard according to the word so that i would know the difference and thus i am left with a few friends, many acquaintances and mostly momentary relationships. i must admit that i have too many sins that i treat like friends and way to many that are acquaintances.

    Any way i am still looking into my identity and my purpose so i am going to look at another man of God. His name is Jonah. Yes i know the story of Jonah and the whale, but i don’t know Jonah as in relationship. Just like i knew the story of Sampson and Delilah, i now know Sampson by relationship.

    Relationship: a connection, association, or involvement, an emotional or other connection between people.