Thursday, June 30, 2011

Jonah 1:1-2 (Short Commentary Version)

Jonah 1:1-2
1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”

Vs. 1-2 Jonah a prophet of God, was from Gath Hepher, a town in the tribe of Zebulon in Northern Israel during the divided Kingdom era when King Jeroboam II an ungodly King (793-753 B.C.) reigned in Samaria. While Nineveh was an ancient city founded by Nimrod (see Genesis 10:10-12), which was located near the Tigris River, and eventually became the capital of the Assyrian empire, (885 B.C. to roughly 625 B.C.). Now Assyria at the time of Jonah was a growing world power, which frequently threatened Israel, beginning with King Jehu's reign, and would continue to do so until the Israelites were according to Word of the Lord taken into captivity by Assyria in 722. B.C. Now the Word of the Lord which came to Jonah was go and preach to Nineveh; but that was not something Jonah was willing to do, given their enemy status with Israel, though Jonah had already been a faithful preacher to his countrymen (2 Kings 14:25). Therefore when God commanded Jonah to go to and preach to Israel’s enemies at Nineveh, so that they might be given an opportunity to repent and be spared. Jonah hardened himself and refused. And thus Jonah’s hardness of heart is seen throughout the Book. For Jonah didn’t want the people of Assyria to receive God’s mercy, he wanted God to punish them. Which is an attitude that can easily frequent us as well if we harden our hearts to God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ to all people as well, especially those “we have a history with” and or who have sinned against us? Indeed if we grew up in the faith and have been "obedient" to it all our lives, we can also rather easily become like the older brother in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son who was quite unwilling to receive even his own brother, and thus became very upset at their Father for receiving and celebrating the return of His own repentant son (See Luke 15:11-31). Nonetheless God does not deal with people that way, for He wanted to show the people of Nineveh mercy, as He does everyone, for the Lord God takes no delight in the harm, death, or destruction of anyone or anything (Ezekiel 18:23), only Satan does (John 10:10). Therefore God never brings judgment on anyone without first seeking reconciliation. Offering conditions of peace by which He may bring forth our well being when in repentance and faith we turn to Him  (John 3:16). Again that the wickedness of the people of Nineveh had come up to God indicates God’s longsuffering towards all people, even His enemies. But even that has an end as the Apostle Peter warns us of those who now foolishly scoff at the Lord Jesus Christ’s Second coming and are not reconciled with Him while they can be (see 2 Peter 3:9-17).

Have you then come to the place of grace, of acknowledging your sins to God, and asking Him because of the crucifixion  death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross to save you from them? For repentance towards God begins with a humble heart (James 4:8-10); of being poor in spirit as Jesus said, which opens the doors of the Kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:3). For Jesus can and does save us from God's wrath and judgment to come when we believe in Him (John 3:35-36). Trusting His death on the cross and Resurrection from the dead apart from anything we do or have done He then brings us into God's favor and peace. And this He does by bringing us into a relationship with Himself and God the Father by His Holy Spirit who indwells us all who believe, by which we experience His life and peace. For these things always begin on the inside, and are an outworking of Christ in our lives. They are not something we are to try to do for ourselves. They are something God does in us and through us when we repent and believe (Mark 1:15). If you would like to receive the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart and life (Rev. 3:20) and become a child of God (John 1:12) just pray a simple prayer like this, in repentance and faith: Dear Lord Jesus I know that I am a sinner and that apart from you I have neither life, nor peace with God. Therefore I repent of my sins and self directed living and invite you into my heart and life to be my Lord and Saviour, in Jesus' Name amen.

Scripture Quotations
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

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