Today is the second day of the fast of Jonah for the Coptic Orthodox Church, so I couldn’t but share about Jonah, again.
What triggered me to write another post was this simple verse:
And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. (Jonah 2:10)
Jonah is the son of Amittai, and Amittai in Hebrew (אֲמִתַּי) happens to mean “Truth”, and it seems that Jonah only understood truth and nothing about mercy. He refused to go to Niniveh, because he knew that God would have mercy on them and accept their repentance. He didn’t want that, he wanted truth.
Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. (Jonah 4:2)
Throughout the book of Jonah, God tried to teach him that it’s not only truth that counts it’s also compassion and mercy.
God said, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13 and Hosea 6:6).
A key verse to memorize is:
All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth. (Psalm 25:10)
God has been trying to teach Jonah mercy in several ways:
- Although Jonah told the mariners that the storm was because of him and that they should throw him overboard, they tried rowing to shore, and didn’t want to throw him. (Jonah 1:10-16)
- He could have died from drowning, but God calmed the sea and sent him a whale to save him from the sea. (Jonah 1:17)
- He could have been eaten by the whale, but no, it took him to dry land and vomited him there. (Jonah 2:10)
These 3 incidents were directly to him; people showed him mercy, the sea showed him mercy, and even the whale showed him mercy, but still he learnt nothing.
God never gave up on Jonah! After all His ways failed to teach him mercy, God gave Jonah the lesson of the plant; He grew it to shade him, and the next day destroyed it by a worm. Still Jonah didn’t get the point, so God had talk to him explicitly.
You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock? (Jonah 4:10:11)
I pray that God would teach us to be merciful on others and would exchange our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. You can read my post about that topic here, and let’s not forget, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy“ (Matthew 5:7)
Did you ever experience God’s continuous trials of teaching you something?
- The Message and the Messenger (mikeazer.wordpress.com)
- Is It Right For You To Be Angry? (Part 1) (mikeazer.wordpress.com)
- Is It Right For You To Be Angry? (Part 2) (mikeazer.wordpress.com)