The Jonah in Me- Final Thoughts

The book of Jonah is only 4 short chapters– a brief historical account about a real person, Jonah. In fact, Jesus Himself referenced Jonah as a historical prophet who was indeed swallowed by a great fish (Matthew 12:39-40). A reading of the full account in the book of Jonah is easily achieved and will avail much insight and encouragement to anyone who takes opportunity to explore it.

Old Testament scripture looks constantly to the appearance of the Savior, Jesus Christ; the reference in Mt. 12: 39-40 removes any doubt that this is so. With this in mind, we might ask who the central character really is in the narrative– I believe a case could be made that he is God, who demonstrates his mercy and grace to bring salvation throughout the entire story:

  • MERCY FOR AN INDIVIDUAL, JONAH: Despite the fact that Jonah immediately fled from obedience to the Lord, God kept watch over him throughout the storm and provided a place of life and safety– the great fish. Additionally, the Lord was patient to give Jonah a second chance (Jonah 3:1-2) and continued to instruct him despite Jonah’s stubbornness (see chapter 4).
  • MERCY FOR A GROUP: In his immeasurable mercy for the lost, God also brought salvation to the mariners on the boat. Jonah 1:16, “Then the men [mariners] feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord and made vows.”
  • MERCY FOR AN ENTIRE CITY: Jonah 3: 10, “And God saw their works , that they turned from their evil way” and spared them from his judgement. The king of Nineveh said everyone should, “cry mightily unto God…and turn everyone from his evil way and the violence in their hands” (Jonah 3:8); therefore, from the very top of their society to the lowliest, God drew them to receive His mercy.

God is committed in his mercy and love to all who will give their hearts to Him– whether one, few, or many.

Although Jonah continued to stubbornly desire his own will rather than humbly submit to the will of God, he nevertheless knew and believed the truth about the Lord: “…for I (Jonah) knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness…” (Jonah 4: 2). It is very reassuring to know that although the Lord is a holy and just God, his great desire is to show his mercy and love at every possible opportunity.