Jonah

20130719-171438.jpgHello. My name is Jonah, son of Amittai. I come from a little town called Gath-hepher. Maybe you’ve heard of it, but probably not.

I am a prophet of God. Yes, I have heard the voice of God, for through the years He gave me different messages to speak to my generation. At times His word was so compassionate and full of mercy; like He was slow to anger and didn’t want to punish the people. You know, it’s as though His love was unfailing and He’d rather turn away from destroying anything or anyone.

But I’ve seen a side of Him most will never witness. I’ve experienced His words of displeasure. I’ve felt His intense anger, even hatred, towards evil doers and the rebellious. I’ve declared His word to ungodly kings and have sensed the spiritual forces at work in their lives. God has, at times, even shaken me right to the core of my being as I’ve heard the word I have been given to share.

A prophet’s ministry is not a glamorous one, that’s for sure. Allow me to give all you momma’s a tip; don’t let your babies grow up to be prophets. But then, maybe I’m biased. Yeah, just a little.

One day I got “the call” to go to the metropolis of Nineveh. What a huge, nasty city! A city given to worshipping the goddess Ishtar. Sexual perversion and an obsession for combat and war, were characteristic of her followers. A city so steeped in pride and arrogance, it was as though Lucifer had saturated the area with his presence. Pure evil!

Now, mind you, I wasn’t afraid of hard work. I wasn’t a coward when it came to speaking a Word from God, even if it was to the devil himself! Of course, you all know that I initially ran from my Nineveh call. But it wasn’t because I was afraid of what the people would do to me. Not at all. Rather, I had a uneasy feeling of what God might do. I’d heard that voice before, remember? That “I’m going to judge you if you don’t repent, and I really hope you’ll repent” kind of voice. I could see it coming!

So I picked up and started going; just as fast and far as I could go! In the opposite direction.

Do you know what it’s like to love God so much, and have such a desire to obey His every desire, and yet hate a group of people so intensely you can’t think straight? Do you have any idea what it does to a guy?

I figured I’d get out of town without letting anyone know where I went. No forwarding address, cell phone shut off, completely off the grid. Didn’t work, though. God never lost track of me. He followed me to the travel agency, watched me purchase the one way ticket to Tarshish, stood back while I boarded the liner, then, when we were out to sea, caused such a commotion among the crew and passengers they ended up throwing me overboard. Great! At least I would be able to be relieved of the battle of love and hatred raging in my heart and mind.

Wrong again! I’d heard of submarines before, but had never seen one, let alone been inside one. But there I was, sinking into the ocean one minute, then, from out of nowhere, I was swallowed by a big, ol’ fish. I tell you what; I remembered one time skimming through some of those fishing magazines at the local convenience store, and looking at pictures of some pretty big fish. But I had never seen a fish the size of the one I was now a resident of. Never!

It looked to me like I was right where God wanted me. Well, sort of. Where He really wanted me was in Nineveh. Then it dawned on me that He loved them, actually cared for that evil city, more than He cared for me and my feelings. By the way, where does a guy go to resign?

Yes, I realized God would go to the greatest measure, using whatever means available, to get His message of love and restoration to the ones I could only hate. I wouldn’t have been surprised, that if necessary, He’d even send His own Son to such an awful place, just for the sake of people who only practiced evil and cared nothing for their Creator.

As I said, being a prophet is not all it’s cracked up to be.

So, from the belly of the fish I prayed, searched my soul, contemplated the purpose of my life and God’s prophetic claim on my life. And though I did not want to go to Nineveh, I still wanted to be faithful to the Lord. So I cried out in repentance and He heard my cry. The next thing I knew, I was sailing through the air, heading for a beach with a road sign on it which read, “Nineveh – 102 miles”.

Isn’t that just like God! He had arranged for me to get stuck in a fish that was more obedient to His voice than I had been!

So, I cleaned myself up a bit, making myself a little more presentable for hitch hiking. Kind of hard to get a ride when you smell like a fish, with seaweed hanging out your pockets, sticking out your ears, and wrapped around your neck.

I arrived at the outskirts of the city a few days later. Feelings of hatred began to rage within me, and the urge to run from the assignment almost caused me to try and flee from God’s presence a second time. But I stayed, trying to focus on the message He’d given me to share.

“Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed! Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed!” For 3 days I said nothing else. I walked and talked, talked and walked. 3 whole days of,”Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed.” There, I’d done my part. All I had to do was wait for 37 days, then watch the show. Sweet!

Except it wasn’t sweet! The king of Nineveh somehow got this bright idea to call everyone together for fasting and repentance. When I heard that, I just cringed. God could be such a pushover. I’ve always thought it would be best if God would allow me to take care of some of His less than desirables. It’s obvious to me, He doesn’t think straight at times. But that’s just my opinion.

Did I tell you it’s not easy being a prophet?

So there I sat, from my ringside seat, watching a mighty revival take place. I could see and hear people crying out to God, asking for mercy and forgiveness. I saw the city take on a new personality, a new character, as the old perverse ways gave way to the righteousness and holiness of God. Pride and arrogance yielded to humility as people submitted themselves to God and each other. What a sight!

I only wish I had been more receptive to the revival spirit. Maybe I would have been changed, and the hatred in me would have yielded to the love and forgiveness of God.

See, it’s possible to be someone God uses, and yet miss out on the most important part of the process! The part where one experiences the very thing they preach. When one understands the love that is beyond comprehension.

Great days are ahead for you, my friend. But tough days are coming, as well. Take a tip or two from me, will you? Don’t be satisfied with only being used by God. Don’t be content with your spiritual status. Everyone needs to change; to grow more and more into the likeness of the One Who is called God!

Your cities need revival, just as Nineveh did. And God calls people like you to speak His Word, declare His Righteousness and Holiness, and call for repentance. It may seem like an impossible feat. The cities are full of people obsessed with sexual perversion, pride, greed, and seeking after their own pleasure. And, remember, “no one really wants to seek God”. But don’t listen to that thought. It could just be your prejudices and hatred showing through.

“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7 NLT)