Continuing our study in the book of Jonah, we cannot help but notice what God prepared. He did not leave matters to take care of themselves. There were thousands of people in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh that needed to hear the good news from God. If they refused that good news, they would face his judgment. So, what did God prepare in his anticipation to reach these people?
Before he ever wanted to reach out to the Assyrians, God was working in the life of one man. He chose this one man for a special mission. He prepared Jonah with the ability to do the job.
On their way to Tarshish a Mediterranean hurricane overtook the ship. God used the storm as a catalyst for Jonah to return to his gospel mission.
After being thrown in the water, God prepared a great fish to greet Jonah. Contrary to popular belief, this was not a whale. It was a miraculous creature that God prepared for the single purpose of transporting Jonah back to the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. This miraculous creature did not exude stomach bile that would normally have killed him.
Even so it must have been an unpleasant experience inside the fish because Jonah called it the belly of hell before being vomited on to the shores. He further described his experience in the fish as saying that seaweed was wrapped around his head. Apparently, the fish took him to the bottom of the ocean where were underwater mountains. It was not until recent history that scientists discovered there are tall mountains under the seawater. Jonah made a point to state that his body was not corrupted.
God prepared a second message to Jonah telling him again to go to Nineveh to preach to those that he instructed. Nineveh was a considerable distance inland. Jonah was very angry when they turned to God. Jonah left the city and construct a booth to protect him from the sun. In response to Jonah’s need, God provided a gourd that grew over his head to further shadow him.
The Lord did not want Jonah to remain in the position of status quo. As a means of motivating him, God prepared a worm that would destroy the gourd. To further motivate Jonah, God prepared a very strong east wind to blow the remnant of the plant away. What God did at this point was a lesson to be learned telling him that he had more sympathy for a plant than he did for the inhabitants of the great city of Nineveh’s population of 120,000 people.
There is a lesson for us from Jonah’s experience. God is concerned about all people that need to hear his good news of salvation. He will not be deterred away from his love for those in sin. This is John 3: 16 in action in the Old Testament. The fulfillment of God’s outreach will not be lessoned by the weakness of those who are supposed to be his children. We need to examine ourselves to see if we have let God down. Have there been times in which we should have witnessed to someone but ignored an opportunity to fulfill our own mission from God?