Profile of the Prophet Jonah - Old Testament Bible Character:
The Prophet Jonah seems almost comical in his relationship with God, except for one thing: The souls of over 100,000 people were at stake. Jonah tried to run away from God, learned a terrifying lesson, did his duty, then still had the nerve to complain to the Creator of the Universe. But God was forgiving, both of the Prophet Jonah and the sinful people Jonah preached to.
The Prophet Jonah was a convincing preacher. After his walking crusade through the huge city of Nineveh, all the people, from the king on down, repented of their sinful ways and were spared by God.
The reluctant prophet finally recognized the power of God when he was swallowed by a whale and remained in its belly for three days. Jonah had the good sense to repent and thank God for his life. He delivered God's message to Nineveh with skill and accuracy. Even though he resented it, he did his duty.
While modern skeptics may consider the account of Jonah an allegory or symbolic story only, Jesus compared himself to the Prophet Jonah, showing that he existed and that the story was historically accurate.
Prophet Jonah was both foolish and selfish. He mistakenly thought he could run away from God. He ignored God's desires and indulged his own prejudice against the people of Nineveh, Israel's fiercest enemies. He thought he knew better than God when it came to the fate of the Ninevites.
While it may appear that we can run or hide from God, we're only fooling ourselves. Our role may not be as dramatic as Jonah's, but we have a duty to God to carry it out to the best of our ability.
God is in control of things, not us. When we choose to disobey him, we should expect bad consequences. From the moment Jonah went his own way, things started to go wrong.
It is inappropriate to judge other people based on our incomplete knowledge. God is the only righteous judge, favoring whom he pleases. God sets the agenda and timetable. Our job is to follow his instructions.
Gath Hepher, in ancient Israel.
Referenced in the Bible:
2 Kings 14:25, The book of Jonah, Matthew 12:38-41, 16:4; Luke 11:29-32
Prophet of Israel.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." (NIV)
But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. (NIV)
"When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple." (NIV)
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. (NIV)