Post by henrythee3rd on Apr 25, 2014 18:18:50 GMT -5
Hello Pastor Mike! Jonah 1:2-3 says "Arise, go to Ninevah, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me. But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD..." I have a few questions on this. First, what exactly does the command to "call out against" a city mean? What evil had been done? Also, how could Jonah flee "from the presence of the LORD" ?
Post by Mike Miller on Apr 30, 2014 8:56:54 GMT -5
First, to "call out against" the city meant that he was to proclaim a message of judgment. Indeed, when Jonah eventually went to Nineveh, he did just that. His message was simple: "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"
Second, in addition to worshiping pagan gods, the Assyrians were known to be a particularly violent and cruel people. Records exist of particularly heinous things they did to their enemies and to criminals. One of their leaders would cut off people's lips and hands. One would cut strips of skin off of people so they would suffer greatly before dying. While all sin is abhorrent to God, apparently Nineveh's was so great as to warrant destruction if they did not repent.
Third, Jonah couldn't flee from the presence of the Lord. That's really one of the underlying themes of the book. That he, a prophet, would think that he could hide from God was absurd. The book of Jonah shows us that it is impossible to flee from God's presence. Adam and Eve tried to hide from God also, and that didn't work. And consider these words from Psalm 137:
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.