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  • Daniel Botkin

Jonah and the Joy of Salvation


“Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amitai....”

Before I write about Jonah, I want to first write about Jonah’s father, Amitai. Many years ago there was a very popular board game called Trivial Pursuit. Players scored points by answering trivia questions about a variety of topics. A Christian-owned game company soon produced a similar game called Bible Trivia.

One day in the 1980s I was playing Bible Trivia with some friends. My question was “What was the name of Jonah’s father?”

“Amitai,” I immediately replied.

The person who had read the question to me seemed annoyed and almost angry that I knew the answer. “How did you know that?” he snapped.

“Because I read the Bible,” I said. “I read the Bible and I remember stuff.” Of course I do not remember everything I read, but this was one thing I happened to remember.

Another time while playing Bible Trivia, my question was “What was the sixth plague in Egypt?”

“Boils,” I answered.

Again, the person who read the question seemed annoyed that I knew the answer. After that, no one wanted to play Bible Trivia with me anymore, so I had to just play the regular secular Trivial Pursuit. One summer day I was playing regular secular Trivial Pursuit with a group of my cousins at a family reunion. My team needed to answer just one more question in the “Art & Literature” category. If we answered the next question correctly, we would win the game.

My cousin on the opposing team pulled out the card, looked at the question, and cried, “Oh, no! No! No!”

“What’s wrong? What’s the question?” everyone asked.

My cousin sighed and said, “What is the name of the first book of the Bible?”

We took a wild guess that the correct answer was Genesis, and we won the game.

But I digress. Getting back to Amitai, Jonah’s father. I really have nothing to say about the man Amitai, because the Bible says nothing about him except that he was Jonah’s father. But I do want to say something about the meaning of Amitai’s name, because it is relevant to the point I want to make.


AMITAI

Amitai is spelled with the Hebrew letters aleph-mem-tav-yod. Many readers probably know that aleph-mem-tav spells emet, the Hebrew word for “truth.” Emet is a combination of the first letter, the middle letter, and the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. If you have only aleph + mem, you have the word em, “mother,” which is where life begins. If you have only mem + tav, you have the word met, “dead,” which is where life ends. Therefore emet, “truth,” is a blend of the beginning of life (em, “mother”) and the end of life (met, “dead”). This truth is our inconvenient truth.

But what about the letter yod at the end of Amitai’s name? If you add a yod to a noun, that noun becomes first-person singular possessive, i.e., “my.” Even if you do not know Hebrew, you can see this in the transliteration of certain words in the KJV: “Eli, Eli... My God, My God” (Matt. 27:46); “Lo-ammi... not My people” (Hos. 1:9).

But the yod suffix on Amitai’s name is pronounced -ai, not -i. What does that mean? When the first-person singular possessive suffix yod is pronounced -ai, it pluralizes the noun. Therefore the name Amitai means “My truths.” When God refers to Jonah as “Jonah the son of Amitai,” we can understand this as “Jonah the son of My truths.”


THE PILLAR & GROUND OF THE TRUTH

Yeshua (Jesus) declared what the truth is. “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17). Psalm 119 says “Thy law is the truth” and “all Thy commandments are truth” (vss. 142 & 151). So we know what truth is. But here is a question for you:

What is the pillar and ground of the truth?

Some mainstream Christians would probably say, “Jesus is the pillar and ground of the truth.” Some Messianic believers might say, “The Torah is the pillar and ground of the truth.”

But according to the Bible, both of those answers are wrong. According to the Bible, the ekklesia, the church, is the pillar and ground of the truth, as it is written, “...the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

Like it or not, my friends, we are the pillar and ground of the truth. We do not decide what the truth is, but as the pillar and ground of the truth, we uphold and support the truth, the truth which God has revealed in His Word.

One day last summer, I was sharing this with our local congregation in the park shelter where we meet. I pointed out that our park shelter is supported by twelve massive stone pillars, which rest on firm ground. These pillars and the firm ground uphold and support the roof, which shelters those inside from the heat of the sun and from the dampness of the rain. In the same way, we the ekklesia uphold and support the truth, which shelters people who are in Messiah from the heat of God’s wrath and from the waters of spiritual storms.

At this point you might be thinking, “Daniel, this is all very interesting, but what does it have to do with Jonah?” I’m glad you asked!


JONAH, A PICTURE OF THE CHURCH

God called Jonah “the son of Amitai,” i.e., “the son of My truths.” In like manner we the ekklesia, the church, the Body of Messiah, are (collectively speaking) the son of God’s truths. We are called to testify of God’s truths, just as Jonah was. I want us to look at Jonah as a picture of the church today, specifically the church in America.

God told Jonah to go to Nineveh. In effect God said, “Go east, young man.” Jonah said to himself, “I’m not going east. I’m going to do what Horace Greeley said, ‘Go west, young man!’” So Jonah headed west towards Tarshish.

Why did Jonah not want to go to Nineveh? We later learn it was because he knew that God might have mercy on the Ninevites and spare them if they repented. But why did Jonah not want God to have mercy on the Ninevites? Probably because they were a very cruel, barbaric, and bloodthirsty people.

In the 1980s I read a book, The Luck of Nineveh by Arnold Brackman. It told the true story of the discovery and excavation of Nineveh by Sir Austen Henry Layard (1817-1894), one of the pioneers of modern archeology. The discovery of Nineveh’s ruins led to the discovery of what an exceedingly cruel people they were. They tortured their captives. They chopped off the limbs of their defeated enemies. They skinned the amputated arms of their enemies, dried out the skin, and used it as quivers to hold their arrows.

Learning from Brackman’s book what the Ninevites were like helped me understand why Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. I don’t think I’d want to go there either!


FLEEING FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD

“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”

Notice all the negative language in that verse. Jonah “went down” to Joppa. When you run away from God’s calling, it is a step down, a demotion. Jonah “paid the fare.” When you run away from God’s calling, there is a price you pay. A second time it says Jonah “went down,” this time down into the ship. One step down will lead you to another step down. Fleeing to Tarshish is fleeing “from the presence of the LORD.”

Like Jonah, the church in America is fleeing from the call of the Lord, the call to make true disciples. Fleeing from the calling of the Lord amounts to fleeing from the presence of the Lord. Look at the churches in America. Where is the presence of the Lord? The Lord is present in some churches, but sadly the Lord’s presence is conspicuously absent in most churches. Some churches use attention-getting gimmicks like flashing lights and fog machines. This artificially-created atmosphere temporarily stirs the emotions, but it is a pathetic substitute for the real presence of the Lord. We must seek the real presence of the Lord. If we do not, the Lord will send more storms upon us.


A GREAT STORM

“But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.”

I look at this ship and I see America. America is floundering in a storm, about to be broken, and God’s prophet is fast asleep, while the panicked heathens frantically try unsuccessfully to fix the problem. Like Jonah asleep in the sides of the ship, the church in America is asleep, oblivious to the fact that they are going the wrong direction and drifting further and further away from God’s calling and from the presence of the Lord.

“Don’t bother me with the facts,” they say. “Don’t disturb me. Let me sleep and dream of Tarshish, that place where I can live the American Dream, and have a good job, a nice house, financial security, an IRA, a nice car, maybe even a boat and a motorcycle....”

There is nothing wrong with having a good job, a nice house, financial security, and all those other material possessions. Those things are only a problem if the pursuit of those things takes priority over your pursuit of the kingdom of God and His righteousness, i.e., your pursuit of His will for your life. How many believers are there who make plans for their education, their career, their marriage, and everything else that follows, without praying and asking the Lord about His plans for their life? If you have not consulted the Lord in prayer and asked Him about your plans, it is possible He might have a different plan for you.

As the church in America drifts further and further away from the Lord, the church conforms more and more to the world. Bible-believing churches hold up a moral standard that is higher than the moral standard that the world upholds. But as the world lowers its moral standard a notch at a time, the church does the same. The church still has a higher moral standard than the world, but all the church is doing is maintaining the same distance between their standard and the world’s standard. As someone once said, “Tell me which behaviors the world accepts today, and I will tell you which behaviors the church will accept a few years from now.”

Just as God sent a storm to wake up Jonah, so He is sending a storm on America. The reason for the storm is not just to punish the crooked politicians, the sex perverts, and the abortionists. The purpose of the storm is to awaken the church.


THE HEATHENS PANIC

The heathen mariners on Jonah’s ship saw the danger and tried to do something to save the ship and their lives. They cast forth the wares to lighten the ship. In this action, I see the heathens in America frantically trying to fix America’s problems.

“Fix this problem! Fix that problem!” they shriek. “Get rid of this! Get rid of that!”

The heathen mariners in America are trying to save the ship by casting the cargo overboard.

The vegans cry, “Get rid of animal-based food! Eliminate meat, eggs, and dairy from your diet!”

The carnivores yell, “Throw that vegan propaganda overboard! And also their crates of tofu and kale!”

The sex perverts shout, “Get rid of old-fashioned Judeo-Christian ideas of morality!”

The radical feminists shriek, “Throw out male privilege and patriarchy!”

The so-called non-binary people yell, “Get rid of gender-specific language! Use genderless pronouns!”

The racial minorities yell, “Throw that white privilege overboard!”

The white supremacists cry, “Get rid of affirmative action and reverse racism!”

The socialists shout, “Get rid of tax breaks for the rich!”

The rich yell, “Get rid of high taxes!”

The climate change activists cry out, “Get rid of fossil fuels! We’ll continue to use our private jets, but throw everyone else’s fossil fuels overboard! And get rid of plastic straws! We’ll still drink our purified water from plastic bottles, even though one plastic bottle uses far more plastic than a plastic straw, but get rid of those plastic straws!”

The heathens think they know what the problem is and how to fix it. But the real problem is God’s sleeping prophet. This is what has brought the storm. The purpose of the storm is to awaken God’s sleeping prophet.

Most Christians know about God’s promise to heal the land in 2 Chronicles 7:14. But many Christians overlook the fact that it is God’s people, not the heathens, who need to do something to fix the problem. “If My people, which are called by My name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Yes, the heathens also need to repent of their vile, disgusting sins. But just as “judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Pet. 4:17), so repentance must begin at the house of God.

When the captain on Jonah’s ship realized Jonah was sleeping, he woke Jonah up. “What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.”

The heathen sailors, being superstitious, believed (rightly in this case) that the storm was the fault of someone onboard the ship. They decided to cast lots to find out who was to blame for the storm. Proverbs 16:33 says “The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.” In this case, the LORD caused the lot to point to Jonah. Proverbs 18:18 says “The lot causes contentions to cease.” In this case, the lot put an end to contention about who was to blame, because now everyone knew that Jonah had the answer.

“Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us?” the mariners asked. “What is thine occupation? And whence comest thou? What is thy country? And of what people art thou?”

Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.”


“I AM A HEBREW”

I love Jonah’s answer, ’ivri anochi, “I am a Hebrew.” Most Messianic disciples know that the word ’ivri (’ivrit in the feminine form) is from the word ’avar (spelled ayin-beit-resh), which means “to cross over,'' either literally (like crossing over from one side of the river to the other side) or figuratively (like crossing over from one theological view to another theological view). I go into great detail about crossing over in my book Crossing Over. (Click here to order the book.)

Most Messianic disciples are aware of the concept of “crossing over” from mainstream Christianity to a Messianic lifestyle, because that is what they have done. Unfortunately, some Messianics seem to think that crossing over involves little more than adding the Sabbath, Feast Days, and dietary laws to their faith, and learning a few Hebrew words and phrases. These things are an important part of being a “Hebrew” (or a Messianic, or a Hebrew Roots believer, or whatever term you prefer). However, crossing over involves more than these things. crossing over also includes transitioning from viewing the world and life from the natural human perspective to viewing the world and life from the spiritual divine perspective. Paul put it this way:

“While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).

How real are the visible things to you, and how real are the invisible things to you? The visible things, though temporal, are obviously real. Even though “we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7), we still look both ways before we cross a busy street. We do not neglect nor deny the visible traffic and stroll out into the street, bragging that we walk by faith, not by sight. Ignoring or denying the visible things can get us into trouble.

The visible is obviously real to us, but how real are the invisible eternal things to you? God, Satan, angels, demons, heaven, the lake of fire -- how real are these invisible eternal things to you? We need to focus on the invisible eternal things, without ignoring or denying the visible temporal things.

Yeshua made a statement that probably puzzled Nicodemus, and puzzles some believers today. “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven” (John 3:13).

Yeshua was the Son of man who came down from heaven. When He said these words to Nicodemus, He was obviously on earth, yet He said “the Son of man which is in heaven.” How could He say the Son of man was at that present time “in heaven” when He was obviously here on earth speaking to Nicodemus?

I believe the answer to this puzzling statement is in the realization that Yeshua lived in two worlds at the same time. His body was living on earth, but His spirit was living in the heavenly realm.

Hebrews 10:20 says that the veil in the Temple between the holy place and the holy of holies was, figuratively speaking, “His flesh.” One side of that veil faced the holy place, which had the menorah, the table of bread, and the altar of incense. These three items represent light that is necessary for man to see on earth, food for man’s earthly sustenance, and man’s prayers ascending up to God from earth. In other words, they all represent human life in the earthly realm. The other side of that veil faced the holy of holies, where God’s glorious shekhinah, the divine manifested presence, dwelt.

The same veil faced both rooms. One side of the veil faced that which represents human life in the earthly realm, and the other side faced that which represents divine life in the heavenly realm.

Hebrews 10:20 says that veil was “His flesh.” Thus in the days of His flesh, Yeshua was able to say that the Son of man was “in heaven” while He was at the same time here on earth.

As Hebrews, we are called to live as He lived. We should have our feet planted firmly on the ground while our spirit soars in the heavenly places.

Impossible? Not at all. Paul wrote that we now presently “sit together in heavenly places in Messiah Yeshua” and that God “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Messiah” (Eph. 2:6 & 1:3). Hebrews 12:22 says “ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels.” Paul wrote “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Messiah in God” (Col. 3:2f).

Unfortunately, many believers (even Messianics) set their affections on things of the earth. Setting your affection on things above will turn you into a real Hebrew, something more than just a porkless believer who happens to keep the Sabbath and Feast Days and can sprinkle a few Hebrew words in a conversation.

When Jonah told the mariners that he was a Hebrew, the men were “exceedingly afraid.” They asked Jonah what they could do to calm the storm. “Cast me into the sea,” Jonah told them. “For I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.”


TIME TO ABANDON SHIP! JUMP OVERBOARD!

This is what the church in America must do. The only way to stop the storm in America is for the church to abandon ship. We must say, in effect, “I can’t keep going the direction the rest of the nation is going. I’m a Hebrew. I’m called by God to go the opposite direction. I need to repent, turn around, and abandon my plans to pursue the American Dream in Tarshish.”

We need to abandon ship and start living like Hebrews, like people who have crossed over from sin to righteousness, from darkness to light, from death to life, from walking by sight to walking by faith.

“Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah.” When you jump overboard and abandon that cruise ship sailing towards Tarshish, you will find that God has something prepared for you, something that will swallow you up and consume you. You will be swallowed up and consumed by a vision that will change the direction of your life, as it did for Jonah. And that will cause you to pray, as it is written, “Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly.”

Jonah could do little else except pray. If you abandon that cruise ship to Tarshish, you will learn to pray. In some situations praying will be about the only thing you can do.

Jonah was in the fish’s belly three days and three nights. Then the fish vomited Jonah out on dry land. Then “the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.”

God’s calling had not changed, and our calling to make true disciples has not changed. God still expected Jonah to do what He originally told him to do, and God still expects us to do what He originally told us to do, to make disciples.


JONAH’S MESSAGE

Jonah went to Nineveh and told the people, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” No! That is not what he said. He told them, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Period. Absolutely no mention of God’s love and mercy, no hint of a possible reprieve, no suggestion of “unless you repent.” Simply a proclamation to warn the people that Nineveh was doomed. That was the message God gave Jonah to deliver to the Ninevites.

Most followers of Jesus are nice people. Nice people don’t like to tell sinners that they are in trouble with God. We don’t like to tell sinners that they are under God’s condemnation and are going to suffer His wrath to punish them for their sins. Nice people don’t like to talk about God’s wrath and condemnation.

Yes, the gospel is good news. We all know John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Even many lost sinners are familiar with John 3:16.

John 3:16 is a wonderful verse, but John 3:18 & 19 are equally true. “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”

Yes, we are called to share the good news of John 3:16, but if we are silent about the bad news of John 3:18 & 19, then the good news is misrepresented as just one of many options, one of many possible paths that lead to eternal life.

Because we are nice people, we do not like to talk about things like God’s wrath and condemnation, hell and the lake of fire, torment in the afterlife, and the sad fate of lost souls.

Some people come up with theories about the fate of unbelievers in the afterlife. Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others teach that those souls will simply be annihilated and will no longer exist.

The World Wide Church of God taught that lost souls will have an opportunity to hear and believe the gospel at the resurrection, an idea that I call “post-mortem evangelism.”

Some believe that there are some lost people who “walked in the light they had,” and that God will consider those people “believers” because they would have believed in Jesus if they had had the opportunity to hear about Him.

Universalists claim that eventually everyone will be saved, perhaps after suffering some painful fire for a period of time to purge away their sins. Some go so far as to suggest that even extremely wicked people like Hitler, Stalin, or even Lucifer himself will eventually be redeemed.

“What do you say, Daniel?”

I say that if the Bible absolutely rules out the possibility of a theory, then that theory must be rejected as mere wishful thinking. It is a lie that gives people false hope. If the Bible does not rule out the possibility of a theory, then I say, “We’ll find out on Judgment Day. In the meantime, let’s make disciples.”

Here is a very important point to consider. If you are inclined to believe some theory about the afterlife, a theory which is only a possibility but not a certainty, do not, I repeat, do not teach it as a Bible fact. I will go even a step further and say do not even publicly teach it as a very likely possibility, because it might give lost sinners false hope.

Why is this relevant to Jonah? Because Jonah did not give the Ninevites any false hope. We learn in Jonah 4:2 that Jonah knew that God might not carry out His threat if the people of Nineveh repented. Imagine what would have happened if Jonah had said to the Ninevites, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be destroyed!” and then added, “But to be honest with you guys, I think God might be bluffing.”

If Jonah had said that, it would have given them false hope and they probably would not have repented. Why should they repent, if God’s spokesman thinks God might be bluffing? In like manner, lost sinners today will be less inclined to repent if we tell them that God might be bluffing in all those Bible verses that talk about things like wrath, condemnation, the lake of fire, outer darkness, and other forms of torment in the age to come.

I do not claim to know with absolute certainty all the details of the afterlife, but one thing I do know is that it will be terrifying and agonizing for unrepentant sinners who “loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” They will suffer some sort of irretrievable loss and eternal regret.


NINEVEH REPENTS

Jonah preached the message God gave him. The next verse says, “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.”

Why did they believe what Jonah said? An unknown man from a foreign country shows up uninvited and announces that your city will be overthrown in forty days. Why should you believe him?

Some people think that Jonah’s skin was bleached white from acid, like a whaler in the 1800s who survived being swallowed by a whale for a very short time, and was rescued by his mates who cut open the whale and saved the man. Some people think the Ninevites knew about Jonah’s three days and three nights in the fish’s belly. This is possible but not provable. But it is an idea that would work great in a movie. If I were going to make a movie about Jonah, here is how I would write the script:

Two fishermen of Nineveh are standing on the beach looking at the sea. A short distance away, they see a great fish swimming toward the shore. “Look, it must be a whale beaching itself,” one of the men says. They see the fish swim up onto the shoreline. It expels a huge mass of vomit from its mouth and swims away. The men see some movement in the pile of grey sludge. They suppose it must be a fish that was recently swallowed by the whale. But then they see something slowly rise up out of the steaming mass of vomit. As the form rises up, they see a man standing there, covered with slimy, half-digested food, with wet stringy seaweed hanging from his head and beard, water and sand dripping from him. The man points his finger at the two frightened men and cries out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

That would be a cool scene for a movie, but I doubt that that is what happened. I believe it was not Jonah’s physical appearance but his anointing that convinced the Ninevites to believe that God’s threat was real.

The king of Nineveh got off from his throne, set aside his fancy robes, put on sackcloth, and sat in ashes. He called the entire city to a complete fast. He made a decree that even the livestock of Nineveh were required to wear sackcloth and participate in this fast. “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.”

That was some very radical repentance. Even the animals wore sackcloth and cried out to God. It was no doubt a very profitable week for the sellers of sackcloth.

One thing that has always impressed me about Nineveh’s repentance is that the people repented even without a promise or even a hint of a possible reprieve. Jonah had not given them any hope at all; he just told them that Nineveh was doomed. Yet in spite of the hopeless message, the king of Nineveh hoped that God might spare them if they repented.

The king said, “Who can tell if God will turn and repent [i.e., change the decree], and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not?”

Who can tell? Who knows? We have been told that Nineveh will be destroyed in forty days. But maybe -- no guarantee, just maybe -- if we repent in sackcloth and ashes, fast and cry out to God, get the animals involved too, and turn from our evil ways, maybe God will spare us.

The Bible says that God saw their works and spared them. An entire city of 120,000 horrible heathens turned from their evil ways and prayed to the one true God, the God of the Hebrews.


JONAH’S RESPONSE

Jonah’s evangelistic crusade was a great success, and Jonah was exceedingly pleased, right? Wrong. “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.”

Jonah complained to God that He was too merciful. “I pray Thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my own country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that Thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest Thee of the evil.”

Jonah wanted Nineveh to be destroyed. He built himself a booth outside the city. God prepared a gourd to grow on the booth to give Jonah some shade, then He prepared a worm to destroy the plant, then He prepared a vehement east wind to blow upon Jonah, “and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die.”

God asked Jonah, “Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd?”

“I do well to be angry, even unto death,” Jonah replied.

God pointed out to Jonah that he pitied the gourd, a mere plant that he did not create. Using the kal v’chomer (“light and heavy”) form of reasoning, God said, “And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?”

The fact that the very last words in the Book of Jonah are God’s mention of “also much cattle” makes me think that God heard those sackcloth-covered cattle crying out mightily to Him during Nineveh’s citywide fast.


THE JOY OF HIS SALVATION

The heathens in America need to repent, but the church first needs to repent. When David repented of his sin, he prayed, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.... Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee” (Ps. 51:12f).

Let me close with a kal v’chomer comparison. If an entire city of 120,000 wicked heathens repented at the preaching of a cranky, Joyless Jonah, how much more should we expect to see sinners turn to the Lord if we are filled with the joy of the Lord? Let’s ask God to restore unto us the joy of His salvation, so the heathens can see that joy and be converted unto Him.


| DB


 

Image: Profile of a Prophet by Daniel Botkin. See all of Daniel's art pieces on his art website: DanielBotkin.com.


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Frank Payne
Frank Payne
17 במרץ

Yes, it is true that nice people do not want to warn about wrath and hell. However, it is also true that 'believers' who have lost their saltiness do not want to sound the alarm for fear of being judged of hypocrisy, and most of us know the destiny of the hypocrite. Modern 'believers' also suffer a conundrum in that they often live immoral lives under the umbrella of grace while saying they are not under law, but grace. By not being under the law they have nothing to make the pagans aware of their need for salvation, for it is by the law that we have awareness of sin. The 'Christian' who does not uphold and honor God's law…

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jesusantibodies
17 במרץ

I believe it was Spurgeon who said a day will come when instead of Shepherds feeding the sheep, we will have clowns entertaining the goats! that day is today :(

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