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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Jonah, the Individual

The word of the Lords came to Jonah, son of Amittai … From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:  “In my distress I called to the Lord and he answered me.”
Jonah 1:1 & 2:1-2a

A friend suggested reading the whole short book of Jonah in one sitting. Having a little time on my hands, I decided to do just that.

I had heard the story of Jonah and the whale since childhood so I assumed it would prove a quick task with few surprises. After reading and rereading the book several times, I realized I had not made a good assumption.

God told Jonah to go to the town of Nineveh because the people there needed to hear the message of repentance. After the storm and whale experience, Jonah finally obeyed God. The people did indeed come back into fellowship with Him and in a relatively short period of time. End of story? Not really.

Of the four chapters in the book of Jonah, the Nineveh story only took up one. The other three focused on the man, Jonah, and his own individual spiritual journey.

God cared enough for the people of Nineveh to send someone to give them His message. He could have sent anyone, but He cared enough about Jonah for that “anyone” to be him. He used the journey and its aftermath to teach Jonah some valuable spiritual lessons.

I could not help but be astounded at the lengths God went to teach Jonah those truths and I cannot believe that God would not do the same thing for each one of us – individually for the same reason.

Thank you, Lord, for your pursuit of a personal growing relationship with every single individual you have created.

Susan P.

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