Monday, January 31, 2011

Jonah's ego

Jonah's ego
 Last night, I read the book of Jonah again. I know Jonah was  disobedient when He ran away from God when God commanded him to preach to the people of Nineveh. But reading slowly, i realised the reason why Jonah was defiant was because he knew God would relent if the people of Nineveh were to return to God.

Jonah said to God in Jonah 4:2

"... “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.""

Amazing. Jonah hated the people of Nineveh so much that now that God has relented, he asked God to take his life because he would rather die now! (verse 3)

I was thinking is there anyone that I hate that much. No. I was thinking whether the Israelites hated the Palestinians that much. Would they ask the same if the Palestinians returned to the God of Israel?

I was thinking despite how Jonah felt, God still used Jonah to carry out his will. That was quite humbling. We shouldn't be so proud or so quick to judge others or how God would see others for this is what God says in verse 10-11

"  So the LORD said, "You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?""

Just as how God had compassion on me, so I too should have compassion on others no matter who they are, believers or non believers and just allow God to use me for His glory. Thank you Holy Spirit.


  1. Liz,

    Some background info. for your readers:

    Jonah, son of Amittai, was a prophet. The word of the Lord came to him, asking him to go to the city of Nineveh and to preach against it, because its wickedness had come up before God.

    A little historical background on the city of Nineveh: Nineveh was first mentioned in Gen 10:11. According to the KJV Bible, it was Ashur, the second son of Shem who built Nineveh, making the early dwellers to be from the same lineage as those of Abraham who also descended from Shem. Other English translations (e.g. NIV) put it as Nimrod, the son of Cush, who was the son of Ham (both Shem and Ham, together with Japheth were sons of Noah) who built Nineveh. Is it important who built Nineveh? I believe the importance is in that Nineveh was the great city of the Assyrians. The latter as indicated by this story, were not exactly treated by God like other pagans; they were shown mercy and favor, at least, initially. This same initial mercy and favor were seen also in other descendants {like the Moabites and Ammonites (descendants of Lot; and Edomites (descendants from Esau)} from the Shem line.

    This prophet Jonah story is believed to be set in the reign of Jeroboam II (786-746 BC) or King Menahem (746 BC). There were much being said concerning Assyrians and Nineveh in the Scriptures. In fact, the Assyrians became one of the fiercest enemies of the Israelites.

    In those days, most nations built their state by robbing other nations, and the Assyrians were the most ferocious of them all. They were well-known for their cruelty and atrocity; they would skin their prisoners alive, and cut off various body parts to inspire terror in their enemies. There were even records of Assyrian officials pulling out tongues and displaying human skulls, all to bring about stark horror and wealthy tribute from surrounding nations. It is believed that such cruelty and atrocity of the Assyrians against the neighboring nations were known to prophets like Jonah. Perhaps, the Israelites already had had encounters with the Assyrians before the latter, under king Pul, invaded Israel around 746BC. It is even possible that this story happened after Israel had been made a vassal to the Assyrians, as indicated in 2 Kings 15:19-20. The wickedness of the people of Ninevah, who, as I have believed, were descended from Shem (Abraham’s forefather) had come up to God, and Jonah, who knew well their cruelty and atrocity, and was perhaps, even still upset with the Assyrians making the Israelites their vassal, was asked by God to preach to the Ninevites to escape God’s wrath. Jonah ran away because he did not want such atrocious people who were enemy of Israel, to be spared by God, for he knew God would spare them.

    God bless, and a blessed Chinese New Year to you and your family. Anthony Chia

  2. Liz,

    I felt it isn't complete if did not say what happened to Nineveh eventually. So I add this:

    In this Book of Jonah, we will find that Nineveh was spared from destruction (you will read of this the end of the story), but eventually Nineveh, as a symbol of the powerful Assyrians, was destroyed after various prophesies against it {The Book Nahum had a lot on this}, meaning God did subsequently sanctioned the utter destruction of the city (around 612 BC, by the Medes).

    There are many lessons that can be learnt, I will just put a few here, particularly concerning the attitude and mindset of the servant of God:

    1. A prophet cannot pick and choose his assignments. For that matter, as a servant of God, we do what the Lord wants us to do. The master decides; we just obey.

    2. There is no where you can go to hide yourself from God. No one can flee from God. Nineveh was on the east of Israel, and Tarshish was at the extreme west; Jonah was attempting to run as far as possible, but it was futile.

    3. Be responsible and own up. Jonah was still responsible enough, and he owned up that he was the cause of all the problems the sailors were having.

    4. God is merciful to those who are responsible and own up. God sent a big fish to save Jonah from drowning.

    5. God is sovereign. In this story, even pagan sailors came to the acknowledgement that God was sovereign, and that He did what he was pleased to do.

    May you and readers benefit from what I put here.
    Anthony Chia

  3. this youtube video and hear what Frances Hunter say about cancer being a "spirit"...

  4. Sr. Anthoni Chia, hermoso el comentario y muy constructivos los datos historicos.Que profeta Jonas.Saludos desde Argentina.Bendiciones.

  5. Hi Chuli,

    Not sure if you will read this, anyway for any reader who might read the comments here, and does not know Spanish, here is the translation into English of what Chuli said. I do not know Spanish, but because I wanted to know what Chuli wrote, I checked up the Spanish-English dictionary!

    Chuli wrote:

    "Mr Anthony Chia, your commentary is beautiful and very constructive with historical information about the prophet Jonah. Best regards,Blessings from Argentina."

    Chuli, thank you for your compliment.
    Blessings from Singapore.