THE JONAH WITHIN
by Jide Oboise
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1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:
2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.
5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.
6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before.
14 Then they cried out to the LORD, “Please, LORD, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, LORD, have done as you pleased.”
15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.
16 At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.
1 [a]From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 2 He said:
“In my distress I called to the LORD,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
The essence of this article is the realization that we ALL have a Jonah lurking somewhere in our being
I remember the first time that I heard about Jonah and his escape in Sunday school class as a very young child, I was fascinated about the fact that a whole MAN could be swallowed up and live in a fish’s belly….
I pictured him shouting for help , his voice resounding back to him in multiple echoes.
I saw him in my mind’s eye, nervously walking all around and inspecting the bones built into the flesh (I always pictured a hollow inside without intestines ET AL)
As I grew older, I began to wonder and became judgmental about this worshipper and believer in the most high God who could run away when called to duty .
Above all he became judgmental and had feelings of superiority and disdain to those that God sent him to
Recently it dawned on me when in conversation with a friend who was so very angry about a situation that took place, it dawned on me that WE all judge others all of the time especially those of us who believe that we are DEDICATED CHRISTIANS! ……. Holier- than -thou, Pharisee or Sadducee more like it!
It all so happened that my friend had had a confrontation with a particular person who was being guided to Christ but had proved difficult every step of the way and was on this particular instance, to top it all rather rude, blasphemous and uncompromising.
The utterance of my friend on this particular day is what has not ceased to amaze me and it slapped me out of a mind-set reverie!
………. “All people like this one will surely soon find out who is in charge of this world and all that it contains and that, God is on the throne…he will destroy THEM all with fire and brimstone!!!!!!”
Even I was so shocked to my innards at this outburst….. (Am sometimes known for my HARDLINER stance where things of the Bible are concerned!
This set me on a reel of thoughts on various times where one person or the other that I know, rather than persevere at evangelizing to unbelievers and try to break through (by God’s grace, of course) the overwhelming sin and iniquity of ‘modern’ time, they give up midway or even earlier than this and condemn, as judge and jury rolled into one; those guilty of various acts before these ones even make it to the eternal judgment throne of God!
Are you in this number…can you see the JONAH in you…running away from Nineveh to Tarshish, condemning the Ninevites to eternal punishment for their sinful ways and even questioning God’s decision about “putting you in the way of danger ..Sending you to preach to such a wicked unrepentant people”
Food for thought as you seek out and eliminate with the help of the Holy spirit.....THE JONAH WITHIN!
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