The reluctant prophet- Monday, 27th week in ordinary time – Jonah 1:1-17; 2: 1,10
If you have never met a reluctant prophet then meet Jonah. Jonah is told to go to Nineveh (northeast of Israel), on a long trip over land. Just to put this in perspective, Nineveh and Israel were no dancing partners for the hatred between the two nations was as old as the hills. When God asks Jonah to take a message and go north east he immediately sets off in a westerly direction for Joppa and buys a ticket for the slow boat to Tarshish (perhaps Tartessus, in Spain)
Why would Jonah be so defiant, why disobey God? Perhaps it’s because you and I read the text of God’s message to Jonah but only Jonah understood the sub text. Jonah’s people have long known the tender heart of God; a heart they have also taken advantage of several times in the past. They knew that each time God threatened to destroy them they just had to sit in sack cloth and ashes and repent and God had a change of heart.
Jonah knew that if he took a message of repentance from this loving God, to his hated enemies, they would repent and be saved and Jonah would rather have them destroyed. Jonah could not bear the possibility of God’s mercy extended to a wicked and hateful people. His nation and people, on the other hand were more ‘deserving’ of God’s repeated mercy for after all they were His ‘chosen people’.
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