Text: Jonah chapters 3 and 4
The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.
The first time the word of the Lord came to Jonah it said, “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before me.” Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria, the empire that ravaged the northern kingdom of Israel, Jonah’s home. They were ruthless, cutthroat, and showed no mercy to captive peoples. They were Israel’s bitter enemy.
When Jonah is first commanded to go at once and preach to them, he does go at once, in the opposite direction. Rather than head east, toward Nineveh, he boards the first ship he can find heading west, to Tarshish. If Jonah lived in Columbus and was commanded to go preach in Washington, DC, he would have jumped on the next flight to LA.
This does not work out well for Jonah, or his ship mates. A storm arises, and their ship experiences heavy turbulence. Jonah takes the blame for the storm. They throw him overboard. The sea goes calm, and peace is restored. Except for Jonah, who is sinking like a stone. But the...