Tuesday, March 5, 2013

No One Else's Business Part 2

Jonah is an interesting character in the Bible. God told him to go to Nineveh and preach the gospel to them. He was to tell them that if they did not repent they would be destroyed. Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. There has been much speculation over the centuries as to why he didn't want to go; the bottom line is he fled. He tried to escape from God's will.

The first thing Jonah did was go to the coast and pay his fare to get on a ship heading in the opposite direction. When he got on board the ship he found a place to sleep. Often when people are depressed or angry, they go to sleep to try to forget what's bothering them. Men seem to be especially prone to do this. It's a way of tuning out the voices they don't want to hear.

When the ship was well underway a storm came up and battered the ship to the point the sailors feared for their lives. None of them were Christians (at that time people belonging to God; Christ hadn't been born yet) and they cried out to their gods—to no avail. The winds and waves grew worse. They began throwing things overboard to lighten the weight of the ship, hoping it would not sink. Still, the storm grew worse. In desperation, they cast lots to see who was to blame for this storm. The gods must surely be angry with someone.

The lot fell on Jonah. The captain of the ship went to Jonah and woke him up. "What have you done to make your god so angry? It is your fault we are having this storm and fear for our lives. Who are you? Where do you come from?"

Jonah admitted that he was running from God and it was indeed his fault that they were in danger of shipwreck. He told the captain to throw him overboard and the sea would calm down and they would make it safely to shore. The crew continued to try other things first, not wanting to throw a man over. Finally, they did. Scripture says God prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. I have no problem believing this. If you research the measurements of the great blue whale or the beluga, you will see that it would be quite capable of swallowing a man.

So you see, first Jonah's actions impacted the plight of the other people on the ship. Second, it interfered with the normal diet of the "fish" (today we think it was a whale). It took the whale out of his normal routine to approach a man and swallow him. Jonah was inside the whale for three days and nights. Can you imagine the indigestion of the whale? Let's face it: a sour attitude affects everyone around us. Finally, God told the fish to spit Jonah out on dry land. Again, the whale (fish) had to go outside its normal habitat to get close enough to spit out this sour, unpleasant character. The creature vomited Jonah out onto dry land (near Nineveh, where he was supposed to be in the first place). Jonah's sin made the fish (whale) sick to its stomach.

How does your attitude and character affect the people around you?

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