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Life Lessons From Jonah and How To Obey God

Faith Figure: Jonah

Who is Jonah?

Jonah is one of the prophet in the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible, before Jesus’ time) and the main character in the small yet mighty self-titled book “Jonah”. His main territory is in the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 8-9th century BCE.

Fun Fact:

  • In Hebrew the word used to describe the sea creature that swallowed Jonah is “dag gad”, which translates to “giant fish”. In the English translations/ version of the Bible we refer to this giant fish as a “whale”.
  • Judaism believes the story of Jonah represents “Teshuva” meaning “return” in Hebrew. Teshuva is the practice in attuning for sins. The primary purpose in Judaism/ this practice is ethical self practice. This is implemented so sinners can be forgiven by God.

Significance:

There is much to learn from the book of Jonah which holds timeless significance for those striving to align their life according to Christ and His word.

A few of the many lessons of Jonah’s life/ in the book is :

  1. Jonah’s Pride
  2. Disobeying God
  3. God’s character- He is forgiving, kind, slow to anger, and provides many blessings despite us not deserving them.

What Does He Do?

  • Jonah is a prophet sent to convert non-believers/ those of other faiths/ serving false God’s to recognize, repent, and honor the one true God.

What Has He Done?

  • Jonah fled from God’s command.
  • Jonah was swallowed by a giant fish.
  • Jonah went to Nineveh, spreading the word of God.

Why Is He Important?

  • He shows human characteristics/ internal struggles with obeying God and following the calling He has placed on our lives. The story of Jonah sheds light on ego, disobedience, repentance, faith versus religion, God’s characteristics, and displays the importance of approaching ministry with a pure heart and mindset.

Symbolism:

Many see Jonah as a foreshadow to what would latter occur in the New Testament through the story of Jesus.

  • Tim Kellar dives into how Jonah isn’t actually the “good guy” in this story, but rather sheds light on the human nature of disobedience, option, pride, and surrendering to God. Click this link to see why he explains Jonah’s opinion towards the Ninnevites are much like the Pharisees’ attitude towards Jesus socializing with sinners.
  • It is also suggested Jonah being swallowed by the whale foreshadowed Jesus’ death and resurrection.
“Jonah and the Whale,” oil by Herbert Mandel

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