Jonah has been on my mind. I guess that is the by-product of having been translating the book lately. The book has always interested me, but in translating it I see some cool nuances that I have missed before. Let me share one as our devotional thought today.
The use of irony in the opening verses sets the theme of the whole narrative. First, God commands Jonah to get up and go to Nineveh. Jonah gets up (keeping part of God’s command), but decides to run from God. Second, there is this belief by Jonah that he can run from the presence of God, as if God is only God in certain locations (this is ironic since Jonah is told to preach to a Nineveh, which is not a Israelite nation).
As I was translating I was thinking just how poor Jonah’s view of God really is (ironic because he is God’s prophet), but then I realized I’m not far from Jonah. At times I know God’s commands but only keep the easier ones (getting up was easier for Jonah, then going to Nineveh). Like Jonah I can convince myself that living out the commands of God is more important in some locations than others.
Like Jonah I have to be reminded of God’s true nature (although I haven’t been eaten by a Great Fish yet). I need to be reminded that I cannot flee God’s presence. I need to be reminded to obey even when I do not want to.
There are so many more great lessons from Jonah, but those two struck me. Maybe they will you as well.