Nearly everyone has heard of Jonah and the Whale (literally “big fish”), but many poeple don’t realise Jonah was a real life Old Testament prophet whose close encounter of the fishy kind was due to him going overboard while trying to run from God.
You see, God told Jonah to go give a message to Assyria. The message gave this corrupt, pagan nation the option of repentance; to turn back to God and give up their evil ways and be saved from destuction.
So, why didn’t Jonah trot right off to the capital city, Ninevah, and give the people there God’s message? Well, the problem was that the Assyrians were Jonah’s enemies. He didn’t agree with their actions or their politics. He had been eagerly awaiting God’s judgment on them and didn’t appreciate God offering them another chance. Why, these people were just sneaky enough to take God’s offer and get off scott free!
We know from reading the Old Testament book of Jonah that, after his dip in the briney, the reluctant prophet presented God’s offer to the Assyrians and, as he’d feared, the nation turned from their evil ways.
Sadly, our nation today has grown to resemble that of the unrepentant Assyrians. All too many of our countrymen and women have fallen into pagan beliefs and practices and need to hear God’s word proclaimed in order to be saved.
Why aren’t more voices boldly speaking God’s message of repentance in our own fallen land? Could we be reluctant for our cultural enemies to find salvation? Like Jonah, do we yearn for their defeat and punishment?
God’s message is the same today as it was in Jonah’s time: repent! Every Christian has the burden of carrying this message into enemy territory.
If we try to run away from our responsibility, we could find ourselves in deep waters, indeed.