Jonah the Prophet
<Jonah 1 ~ 4>
约拿书 1~4 章
在发生风暴的时候，约拿却在船底睡着了，船长走下船底，来到他跟前。对他喊叫说， “你怎么能在这样的时间睡觉？ 起来！向你的上帝祈祷！也许祂会听你的祷告，饶了我们的生命。”
Jonah was a prophet of God; a messenger of God. One day, God said to Jonah, "Go to the city of Nineveh and tell the people who live there that they are a very wicked people and that they need to change their ways."
Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh. He didn’t like the people in that city, they were his enemies and perhaps he was afraid of them. So Jonah decided to run away and hide from God. He caught the first ship out of town and headed in the opposite direction from where God told him to go.
But God sent a huge storm over the sea. Mighty winds and crashing waves threatened to break the ship apart. Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.
All this time, Jonah was sound asleep down in the bottom of the ship, so the captain went down after him. "How can you sleep at a time like this?" he shouted. "Get up! Pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to you and spare our lives."
The sailors decided they should draw straws to find out who was the cause of the storm. So they drew straws and Jonah got the short straw. The sailors asked Johan, "What should we do to you to stop this storm?"
"Throw me into the sea," Jonah said. "This terrible storm is all my fault."
The sailors were afraid and prayed to God, "O God! Don't let us drown because of this man and don't blame us for his death." Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the sea became calm.
But the LORD sent a great fish to swallow Jonah to keep him from drowning, and Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights. From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. "In my distress, I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry." Then the LORD had the great fish spit Jonah out onto the beach.
The LORD spoke to Jonah again, "Go to the city of Nineveh, and deliver the message I have given you." This time Jonah obeyed the LORD's command!
Jonah went to Nineveh and told the people that Nineveh will be destroyed in 40 days. The people believed God's message, and from the greatest to the least, changed their wicked ways.
When God saw what they had done and how they had stopped their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had planned.
God's compassion and mercy on Nineveh greatly angered Jonah. He was so angry that he rather be dead than alive if Nineveh was not destroyed. The LORD replied, "Do you have a good reason to be angry?"
Jonah went outside of the city, sat down, and waited to see what will happen to the city. God prepared a plant and grew it in one day to be a shade over Jonah, to spare him from discomfort of the sun and wind. Jonah was happy about this. But the next day, God set a worm upon the plant, so the plant withered. Jonah wanted to die because it was very uncomfortable under the sun and wind after the plant died.
God said, "What is this? How is it that you can change your feelings from pleasure to anger overnight about a plant that you did not work to grow. So, why can't I likewise change what I feel about Nineveh from anger to pleasure, this big city of more than 120,000 people?
What is interesting to you about this story?
Have you ever been asked to do something difficult that you did not want to do? How did you respond to the request?
What did you learn about Jonah?
Did Jonah have a good reason to be angry?
What did you learn about God?