RISE UP AND SHOUT
Key verse 1 :3
Introduction : Jonas worked during the time when Jeroboam II was King. Hosea and Amos were sent to predict the calamity that would fall on the idolatrous people inspite of their prosperity. Jonas, on the other hand, was sent to Ninive to preach God's Word. However, he was afraid to be used by God to save a people who were enemies to his own. During his flight, Jonas encountered a storm and was swallowed by a whale. He then realised his stupidity. The titles « Rise up and shout »(1) « Jonas prayed » « Rise up and shout. Make my Word known »(3) and « Jonas got upset » efficiently reveal the structure of this Book. The inhabitants of Ninive were saved by their faith in Jehovah God. This Book highlights the narrow-minded hearts of the Jews. As Jesus said the only way to be saved is by repentance and obedience not by one’s works. It's a divine truth applicable to all time periods.
1. Rise up and shout (1-3)
Jehovah God spoke to Jonas and He told him to go to Ninive in order to spread His Word. God had mercy on the Assyrians even though He will use them later on to punish the Israelites. However, Jonas fled as soon as he heard that his people’s foe was going to be saved. He did not want to obey God. In fact the real problem is that he did not understand God's heart which is aimed at saving all the peoples of the Earth. Jonas' heart was very narrow and so he took off in the opposite direction : Tarsis. He removed himself from God's presence. Following our own whims and fancies as opposed to obeying God separates us from God and prevents us from seeing His face.
2. A great storm brewed (4-16)
However Jehovah God used a natural disaster to manifest His presence. The ship that had taken Jonas was in danger. The seamen drew lots to determine the origin of this unfortunate sea event. The result fell on Jonas. He must of felt guilty at this point and that explains why he gave himself up so willingly as a sacrifice. In the meanwhile he was to talk about God whom he had disobeyed. The seamen were thus able to adopt the Hebrew English in spite of their fear. After praying they decided to throw Jonas overboard. According to the Word they gave God an offering and they made their vows before Him. A disobedient man was used to bring salvation to others !