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The Source 

( Edited Summary)

The Bible is unquestionably the most important book ever written.  Not only does it speak to the issues that we struggle with today (money, wealth, poverty, work, conflict, love, sex, forgiveness, guilt, sin, time, youth, and death), but it also gives us a picture of a God who created the universe and a God who has been orchestrating an incredible story throughout history.  While we recognize its importance, we often stay away from the Bible because it  seems unapproachable.  For these reasons SOURCE was designed to help one engage with the Bible in a meaningful way.  A clear picture is formed to show where the author is headed, which makes the ancient background of the text accessible and approachable. The Book of Jonah follows the journey of a wayward prophet who wants nothing to do with God's mercy for others, while The Book of Nahum focuses on a country that receives news of its up-coming destruction. The central figure in both of these books is God and his qualities of justice and mercy towards the ancient country of (Nineveh), examining His characteristics of justice and mercy which also impacts (our relationships) with others while incorporating the dynamics of the transformational nature of His word.

Ruled by Prophets and Kings/"Nineveh, That Great City."

In the time of its temporal prosperity (Nineveh) was a center of crime and wickedness.

Inspiration has characterized it as "The Bloody City...full of lies, corruption and robbery." 

In figurative language the prophet Nahum compared the Ninevites to a cruel, ravenous lion.

The Book of Jonah relates to how the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the Hebrew prophet

 who lived during the reign of King Jeroboam II of Israel (753-793 BC.)

The Lord told Jonah to go to the foreign city of (Nineveh) and call its people to repentance.  This city was the capital of the Assyrian Empire which would soon threaten the very existence of Jonah's very own nation. For this reason, he was much more inclined to see it destroyed because of its wickedness than to help it be spared.  So Jonah boarded a ship and fled in the opposite direction.

God sent a storm to intercept him and put the ships entire crew in danger and Jonah was forced to admit to everyone on the boat that it was his fault the storm had come upon them. He told the crew to throw him into the sea, and they reluctantly did...And the storm stopped.

When the Sailors saw this miracle, they worshiped the true God. The book says that God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah. 

While inside the fish, Jonah realized that he was at least safe from drowning and he thanked God. After three days the fish spit him up onto dry land. Its unclear, however, if Jonah's heart had really changed.

At that point, the story seems to start again...It tells about how the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time and how he took yet another journey, this time toward (Nineveh) instead of away from it. It goes on to show that when Jonah announced that God was about to overthrow the city,  only then did the people decide to turn to God and the danger passed, because He showed compassion to the repentant Ninevites. And once again, Jonah addressed himself to God, this time not in thanksgiving, but in complaint.  

 Jonah resented having played a role in preserving a nation that could destroy his very own nation. It also states that God provided a vine to shelter Jonah from the sun, then provided a worm to kill the vine and a scorching sun to intensify the heat. When Jonah complained about how distressed he was over the loss of the vine, God asked why he himself was not justified in being distressed over the potential destruction of a great city and all of its inhabitants?

The book ends with that question. It is not known when the book of Jonah was written or who wrote it. Tradition ascribes authorship to Jonah, however because the book portrays him negatively, it is possible that someone else wrote the account at a later time. If so, the narrator may be attempting to speak to the situation of a later generation of Israelite's who became exclusive in their understanding of God's grace.  

In the book, Jonah seemed to represent the attitude that many of the people of Israel had at various times toward other nations.  Instead of recognizing their mission to help, those nations came to know the true God. They considered the Israelite's their enemies and expected God to destroy them. So, God's final question to Jonah is also being posed to the nation of Israel at large to any reader who may have that attitude.

We do not need to know when the book was actually written in order to appreciate its message. The people of God in all places and times have a special mission to help others come to know the true God and his grace. They should not see those outside the community of faith as their enemies and expect God to trample them down before them for their own selfish reasons. Instead, they should rejoice in and certainly not resent the fact that, they serve a "Gracious" and Compassionate God, who is slow to anger and is abounding in love. A God who relents from sending calamity upon his discretion.

If we can imagine the ship during the time of the storm, you can almost hear the creaking and straining of the wood planks in the author's description of the ship, as it was in imminent danger of being torn apart right before their eyes. The danger was so great that seasoned sailors were panicked and began casting their cargo off the ship, (their worldly possessions), which represented their livelihood - into the sea.

The concept of only one god was a unique religious idea held only by the Jews. The response, "Yahweh, God of Heaven," contained a long-used title and it automatically answered the question, "What is He the God of?" It also implicitly implied that Jonah's God was supreme over other gods.

Along with the addition of "Who made the sea and the land?"  It was a particularly appropriate description for the situation, as the terror expressed by the Sailors is one of realizing that they are in the cross hairs of a supremely powerful God who indeed has power over and among all things including the very waters in which they found themselves.

Jonah asked to die and the sailors are reluctant to fulfill this request. They likely wondered what this God would do to them if they put a hand on his servant. 

Although, Jonah is fully aware of his situation, he would have rather continue to run from the consequences of his disobedience than 

to surrender to God's will.  Jonah was a runner. But he wasn't running toward anything,  like a marathoner pushes forward toward the finish line. He was definitely running from something, though.

It doesn't take much self-examination to realize that we've ALL run from something at some point in our lives, though the length of the run is different for each of us, as we all share the tendency to follow our own paths. Even when we explicitly know what it is that God wants us to do, like  Jonah did, we still run in the opposite direction of where God is leading us.

Has God ever called you to leave your comfort zone to follow him? 

In your life have you ever felt God leading you in one direction, but you chose to head in the opposite direction?

Ever wonder why, like Jonah, we tend to sometimes run in the opposite direction of God?

It's foolish to attempt to run from the direction God is leading you in.

Is there a direction that God is currently leading you in that you simply don't want to go?

Could it possibly make sense that if you flat out don't want to follow God's direction even if you did understand it?

What's the worst that can happen to follow in a trusted direction, since its so obvious you can't follow the world and NOT expect to serve the consequences.

There is no other than God who can truly be trusted. All the time...Every time.

Most people associate Jonah with the whale. And the fact that he was swallowed by a huge fish and kept alive for three days in its stomach and then vomited out onto dry land is the most interesting aspect of the story for modern day readers...After all, just picturing the scene stretches the boundaries of the imagination in that the Mediterranean Sea could possibly have been the home to such a huge creature and had a digestive system so large. It also indicates that the great sea creature represents the mystery and the power of the sea. It underscores God's supreme power that such a creature would be at His beck and call. God is able to control the wind and the waves AND send a violent storm upon Jonah's ship, then vanish the storm in an instant. It's certainly not hard to believe that God was able to deliver him and keep him from drowning. 

Finding himself alive in the belly of the fish, obviously through the intervention of God, Jonah prays.  His prayer is recorded in the form 

of a psalm. As with other poetry, psalms are typically concise and highly patterned.  Most people who think of prophets, in which Jonah was, often think of people who can predict the future. The Old Testament prophets would often foretell the future, but that was just one aspect of what they did.  The main function of prophets is to speak on God's behalf. God reveals to them what he wants them to say and they proclaim it to who they were told to proclaim it to.​ Most of the time this involves letting people know how they could turn back to him, through asking for forgiveness from the wrong they have done. These messages also usually contain predictions of the future in order to authenticate the messages.