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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jonah 1:1-2

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
For further study - Jonah 1:1-17

Someone has said the book of Jonah is the "greatest fish story they have ever read". It is true the prophet Jonah has an interesting relationship with a "great fish" but that is not the storyline that brings the meaning to this unique prophetic book among the books in Jewish history.

The prophet Jonah lived near the hometown of Jesus - Nazareth and in fact was referred to, and thus vouched for by a very famous neighbor, none other than Jesus Christ Himself, Matthew 12:39-41.

Jonah was called to be a "missionary - prophet", a "Jewish missionary - prophet", to the very large Gentile city of Nineveh. As you read the narrative of Jonah's travels, at least the first of his journey, you will see that the prophet heads out in the opposite direction from where the Lord told Him to go.

Jonah went off to Joppa where he found a boat going to the west and he went on board, paid the fare and was on his way to Tarshish (most likely Spain of today). The problem was that Tarshish was southwest from his hometown and Nineveh, where God told him to go, is northeast from Jonah's home. Jonah went in the exact opposite direction from where God told him to go.

The shipmates of Jonah finally realized that the Hebrew prophet was the reason for the high winds and stormy conditions at sea which were about to destroy their boat. The only thing to do was have Jonah leave the boat. Now that is a real problem when you are out to sea.

They had the ship's crew throw Jonah overboard - to what they thought would be his certain death. However, since God had a plan for Jonah to reach out to the Gentiles of Nineveh, the Lord would provide a "great fish" to care for Jonah, along the way to take care of the Lord's mission.

There are many great prophetic and practical issues in the four chapters of Jonah, some of which we will look at together in a future prophetic devotional. Let me at this time bring the prophetic book of Jonah up to our time as we see it reveal some important truths.

Jonah helps us to learn we can run, but we can't hide, as we flee the direction God wants us to go. He has ways of bringing us back to the path we must follow. God can make us do exactly what He has commanded us to do.

One other thought is that God called Jonah to go to Nineveh, the biblical name of the area we know as Musul in northern Iraq today. God had a plan for Nineveh then and He has a plan for Nineveh and her sister city Babylon today.

These two biblical cities will both play a key role in Bible prophecy, evidence we are quickly approaching the end time scenario found in His word for modern day Iraq, which is where we find Biblical Babylon, a city that is the center of activity in the end times.

We are in what the Bible refers to as "the last days". These are the days when Jesus could shout and call us to join Him in the heavenlies. Today could be that day, so let's keep looking up.......Until.

PRAYER THOT: As I live in these last days, help me to be obedient to your call on my life and make sure I go in the right direction.