God not only faithfully draws you back to Him, but He often does so in humorous ways!
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Jonah 1 (ESV)
the word of the Lord
came to Jonah
the son of Amittai,
2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city,
and call out against it,
for their evil has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
down to Joppa
and found a ship going to Tarshish.
So he paid the fare
and went down into it,
to go with them to Tarshish,
away from the presence of the Lord.
4 But the Lord hurled
a great wind upon the sea,
there was a mighty tempest on the sea,
so that the ship threatened to break up.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god.
And they hurled
the cargo that was in the ship into the sea
to lighten it for them.
But Jonah had gone down
the inner part of the ship
and had lain down and was fast asleep.
6 So the captain came and said to him,
“What do you mean, you sleeper?
Arise, call out to your god!
Perhaps the god will give a thought to us,
that we may not perish.”
7 And they 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.
8 Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us.
What is your occupation?
And where do you come from?
What is your country?
And of what people are you?”
9 And he said to them,
“I am a Hebrew,
and I fear the Lord,
the God of heaven,
who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him,
“What is this that you have done!”
For the men knew that
he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord,
because he had told them.
11 Then they said to him,
“What shall we do to you,
that the sea may quiet down for us?”
For the sea grew more and more tempestuous.
12 He said to them,
“Pick me up and hurl me into the sea;
then the sea will quiet down for you,
for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.”
the men rowed hard to get back to dry land,
but they could not,
for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them.
14 Therefore they called out to the Lord,
let us not perish for this man’s life,
and lay not on us innocent blood,
for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.”
15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea,
and the sea ceased from its raging.
16 Then the men
feared the Lord exceedingly,
and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah.
And Jonah was in the belly of the fish
three days and three nights.
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Jonah 1 Summary
We recently preached through the book of Esther in our Sunday morning services, and we learned that Esther is one of two Biblical books designed to be funny. Jonah is the other. This book, which tells the true story of a wayward prophet, is told in a poetic way. Unfortunately, much of the humor is built off of puns and idioms that don't seem as funny when translated into English.
The first chapter is built off of two key words:
After God's Word comes to Jonah, instead of immediately aligning himself with it, Jonah instead begins a downward spiral away from God:
v3 - He goes down from the hill country to the port city of Joppa, and once there goes down onto the ship;
v5 - On the ship, Jonah goes down below deck, and there he lays down to sleep;
v15 - The sailors, having discovered the storm was aimed at Jonah, throw Jonah down into the sea;
In 2:6, Jonah will sink down as far as possible, to the roots of the mountains.
There's a whole lot of hurlin' going on in this opening chapter:
v4 - The LORD hurled the storm onto the sea;
v5 - The sailors hurled the cargo into the sea;
v12 - Jonah asks the sailors to hurl him into the sea;
v15 - The sailors reluctantly hurl Jonah in.
Jonah's name feeds the humor and meaning of this book as well. In Hebrew, the word yô·nāhʹ also means dove, a bird the prophet Hosea uses to describe God's people:
Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense (Hosea 7:11).
So right in the first verse of this short poem, we learn that this story is not just about a disobedient prophet, but rather it shows how Jonah's individual rebellion represents all of God's stubborn people, who constantly run away from God's call.
But there's one more thing about Jonah's name... his 'last' name: Běn (son of) Amittai. Jonah's father's name means my faithfulness.
So we can understand Jonah's full name to be:
The Silly, Senseless Son of My Faithfulness
This is who we are as God's people: Silly, senseless people, constantly wandering away from our God, who yet remains ever faithful to us.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our faithful Father, who has a sense of humor;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you heed the Word of the Lord, and not run away from it.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: