Lessons from Jonah
by Jerry Curry
Lessons from Jonah
“Now the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”
The book of Jonah opens with God calling upon Jonah to go and preach to the city of Nineveh. God has called upon His servants through the ages to step forward and accept the challenges and tasks of the moment. David was called upon to step forward and defend the honor of Jehovah and Israel by accepting the challenge of Goliath (1 Samuel 17). Esther was called upon to appear before the king at risk of her life to speak on behalf of her people (Esther 4). God calls on each of us to make ourselves “fit for the master’s use” (2 Timothy2:21) that we might be equipped to rise to the occasion and be of service to God, our brethren, and our fellow man.
Let’s take a few moments to notice some other great lessons contained in this short book.
God Is in Control
Especially notable in the following excerpts from the book is that God is in control.
“But Jehovah sent out a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.” Jonah 1:4
“And Jehovah prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17
“And Jehovah God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his evil case.” Jonah 4:6
“But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd, that it withered.” Jonah 4:7
“And it came to pass, when the sun arose, that God prepared a sultry east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:8
May we reverence God as the creator (Genesis 1:1), sustainer (Acts 17:28) and overseer of the nations (Daniel 2:21).
I Remembered Jehovah
“ The waters compassed me about, even to the soul; the deep was round about me; the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed upon me forever: Yet hast thou brought up my life from the pit, O Jehovah my God. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Jehovah; and my prayer came in unto thee, into thy holy temple.” Jonah 2:5-7
As Jonah felt the bars close about him and as he fainted he remembered Jehovah. We are reminded that we need to remember God when we are surrounded with the trials and toils of life.
Word of God Heeded
“And the word of Jehovah came unto Jonah the second time, saying, arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of Jehovah. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city, of three days' journey.” Jonah 3: 1-3
Unlike the first time God directed Jonah to Nineveh, the second time the scripture records that he arose and went according to the word of Jehovah. May we emulate the example of Noah about whom it is said, “Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.” Genesis 6:22
Lesson of the Gourd
The lesson of gourd addresses one’s values and perspective towards life, and provokes us to ask the question, “What’s really important in life?” Note this great lesson as taught in the following passage.
“ And Jehovah God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his evil case. So Jonah was exceeding glad because of the gourd.
Paul tells that these lessons were written for our learning. May we not fail to seize the great opportunity to learn these great lessons, and others, from this inspired book.
7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd, that it withered.
8 And it came to pass, when the sun arose, that God prepared a sultry east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
10 And Jehovah said, Thou hast had regard for the gourd, for which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
11 and should not I have regard for Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” Jonah 4:6-11
- Jerry Curry