Jonah 1: 1-4, 15-17
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittal: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish, to flee from the Lord. Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up.
Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the razing sea grew clam. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah was a prophet of Israel who was told by God to go to Nineveh and to preach against it because of their wickedness. When Jonah chose to disobey God and enter a ship headed to Tarshish, the Lord sent a violent, life treating storm. All, accept Jonah who had been asleep, prayed to their gods to have mercy on them without any results. They then chose lots to see who was responsible for making all this trouble. The lot fell on Jonah who then confessed that he was a Hebrew who worshipped the Lord God and was running away from the Lord. When all else failed to calm the storm, Jonah told them to throw him into the sea. Crying out to the Lord, they asked God not to avenge Jonah’s death on them, as they threw him into the sea. Immediately the sea was calm and the men greatly feared the Lord and offered sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. The Lord provided for Jonah with the inside of a great fish for three days and nights.
We can all, including ministers of the gospel, learn from Jonah’s disobedience that we are to warn others that sin comes with a price. We are all messengers of God’s word.
Father thank you for ministers of the gospel to give warning and also to give the “good news” of Jesus the Christ who gave his life for our freedom and forgiveness from all sin. Awaken us to be your messengers of hope, love and mercy to make disciples for you. We ask in Jesus’ name, amen.