Day 195 of the Holy Bible One Year Challenge. Jonah runs from God and gets swallowed by a whale. Romans 2: Everyone will be judged.
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God Calls and Jonah Runs
The LORD spoke to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get ready and go to the big city of Nineveh.* Tell the people I have heard about the evil things they do. Tell them I am ready to punish them.”
3 But Jonah did not go to Nineveh. Instead, he went the opposite way to run away from the LORD. He went to Joppa and found a boat that was going to the faraway city of Tarshish. Jonah paid for the trip and got on the boat with those going to Tarshish. He was hoping to escape from the LORD.
The Great Storm
4 But the LORD sent a powerful wind down on the sea that caused a terrible storm. The storm was so bad that the boat was ready to break apart. 5 The sailors were very afraid and began praying to their own gods. To make the boat lighter, they began throwing the cargo into the sea.
Jonah had gone down into the boat to lie down, and he was now asleep. 6 When the captain of the boat found Jonah, he said, “This is no time to sleep! Get up! Pray to your god! Maybe your god will hear your prayer and save us!”
What Caused This Storm?
7 Then the men said to each other, “We should cast lots and let our gods show us who caused this terrible storm.” So the men cast lots, and the lots pointed to Jonah.
8 The men said to Jonah, “You must be the one who has caused this terrible storm! Who are you, and what is your business here? Where do you come from? What country? Who are your people?”
9 Jonah said to them, “I am a Hebrew. I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the land and the sea.”
10 Jonah told the men he was running away from the LORD. They were really afraid when they heard this. They asked Jonah, “Why did you do such a thing?” 11 The wind and the waves were get-
ting stronger and stronger. So the men said to Jonah, “How can we save our- selves? What should we do with you to make the sea calm?”
12 Jonah said, “I know I did wrong! That’s why you were caught in this terrible storm. So throw me into the sea, and the sea will become calm.”
13 Instead, the men tried to row the ship back to the shore, but they could not do it. The storm was getting even stronger than before.
14 So the men cried to the LORD: “Please, LORD, don’t punish us for throwing this man overboard. If he is in- nocent, please don’t make us pay for taking his life. Of course, you are the LORD, so you always do whatever you want.”
15 Then the men picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea. The storm stopped, and the sea became calm. 16 When the men saw this, they began to fear the LORD. They offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made promises to him. 17 As for Jonah, the LORD had a big fish ready in the water to swallow him. And Jonah was in the stomach of the fish for three days and three nights.
While Jonah was in the stomach of the fish, he prayed to the LORD his
2 I cried out to the LORD about my troubles,
and he answered me.
From deep down in the place of death, I screamed for help,
and you heard my voice.
3 You threw me into the deepest water, into the bottomless sea.
A flood of water swirled around me.
I was buried under your powerful waves.
4 I thought, “You don’t want me near you any more!
Will I ever see your holy Temple again?”
5 The water was up to my neck. The deep sea surrounded me.
Seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 I was at the bottom of the sea,
the place where mountains begin.
I thought I was locked in this prison forever,
but the LORD my God took me out of my grave.
God, you gave me life again!
7 I felt my life slipping away,
but then I remembered you, LORD,
and there in your holy Temple you heard my prayer.
8 People who worship helpless idols
have turned their backs on the One who could help them.
9 But I will offer sacrifices to you
and lift my voice to thank you.
I will keep all my promises to you. Only the LORD can save!
God Calls and Jonah Obeys
Then the LORD spoke to Jonah again: 2 “Go to that big city of Nineveh, and tell them what I tell you.”
3 So this time Jonah obeyed the LORD and went to Nineveh. Nineveh was a huge city.* It was so big that it took three days to walk through it.
4 Jonah spent his first day there walk- ing towards the center of the city. He announced to the people, “In 40 days, Nineveh will be destroyed!”
5 The people of Nineveh believed this message from God. They decided to go without food for a time and wear rags to show how sorry they were. All the people in the city did this, from the richest to the poorest.
6 When the king of Nineveh heard
about this, he left his throne, took off his robe, put on rags, and sat in the dirt. 7 The king sent a message to every part of the city:
“A command from the king and his officials:
“For a short time no person or animal should eat anything. No herd or flock will be allowed in the fields. Nothing living in Nineveh
will eat or drink water. 8 Everyone must cover themselves and their animals with rags to show their sorrow. They must cry out to God as loud as they can. They must change the terrible ways they have acted. They must stop being cruel to each other. 9 Who knows? Maybe God will stop being angry. Maybe he will change his mind, and we will not be destroyed.”
10 God saw what the people did. He saw that they stopped doing evil. So God changed his mind and did not do what he had planned. He did not punish the people
God’s Mercy Makes Jonah Angry
What God did made Jonah very angry. 2 So he complained to the LORD.
He prayed, “Listen, LORD! I knew this would happen! This is what I said even before I left home. That’s why I decided to run away to Tarshish. Yes, I knew then that you are a God who is kind and merciful. You are patient and loving and willing to change your mind about punishing people. 3 So just kill me now, LORD. I’d rather die than live!”
4 Then the LORD said, “Do you think it is right for you to be angry?”
5 Jonah went out to a place east of the city. He made a shelter for himself and sat there in its shade, waiting to see what would happen to the city.
The Plant and the Worm
6 Then the LORD God made a plant grow beside Jonah. It grew quickly and was soon over his head, shading him from the sun’s heat. Jonah was very happy to have this plant.
7 But the next morning, God sent a worm that started eating the plant, and it died.
8 As the sun rose higher, God caused
a hot east wind to blow. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head, and he was about to pass out. He just wanted to die. He said, “I would rather die than live!”
9 But God said to Jonah, “Are you really so upset about that plant?”
Jonah answered, “Yes, I would rather die than feel the way I do right now!”
10 And the LORD said, “You did nothing for that plant. You did not make it grow. It grew up in the night, and the next day it died. And now you are up- set about it? 11 If you can be upset over a plant, surely I can feel sorry for a big city like Nineveh. There are more than 120,000 people there who don’t know right from wrong, just like the many an- imals that are there as well.”
You Cannot Judge Others
So do you think that you can judge those other people? You are wrong.
You too are guilty of sin. You judge them, but you do the same things they do. So when you judge them, you are re- ally condemning yourself. 2 God is right to punish all who do such things. 3 But since you do the same things as those people you judge, surely you understand that God will punish you too. How could you think you would be able to escape his judgment? 4 God has been kind to you. He has been very patient, waiting for you to change. But you think nothing of his great kindness. Maybe you don’t understand that God is kind to you so that you will change your heart and life. 5 But you are so stubborn! You refuse to change. So you are making your own punishment greater and greater. You will be punished on that day when God will show his anger—the day everyone will see God judge people fairly.* 6 “He will reward or punish everyone for what they have done.” 7 Some people never tire of doing good. They live for glory and honor from God and for life that cannot be destroyed. God will give eternal life to them. 8 But others do only what supports their own interests. So they reject what is right and choose to do what is wrong. They will suffer God’s angry judgment. 9 Trouble and suffering will come to everyone who does evil— to the Jews first and also to those who are not Jews. 10 But glory, honor and peace will come to everyone who does good—to the Jews first and also to those who are not Jews. 11 God judges every- one the same, no matter who they are.
12 So people who have the law and those who have never heard of the law are all the same when they sin. People who don’t have the law and are sinners will be destroyed. And, in the same way, those who have the law and are sinners will be judged guilty by the law. 13 After all, just hearing the reading of the law does not make people right with God. Only those who do what the law says will be right before him.
14 Well then, think about those who are not Jews and did not grow up with the law. When they do what the law commands,‡ they are examples of the law, even though they don’t have the written law. 15 They show that in their hearts they know what is right and wrong, as the law commands, and their consciences agree. But sometimes their thoughts tell them that they have done wrong or even that they have done right. 16 This is how it will be on the day when God “judges all the things people keep secret”. (In the way I tell the Good News, God will do this through Christ Jesus.)
For the music director: a psalm from the Korah family.
LORD, you have been so kind to your land.
You have brought success again to the people of Jacob.
2 You have forgiven the bad things your people did.
You have taken away the guilt of their sins! Selah
3 You stopped being angry with them.
Your terrible anger has gone away.
4 Our God and Saviour, make us as strong as we were before.
Don’t be angry with us any more.
5 Will you be angry with us forever?
Will your anger reach to our children and to their children?
6 Please, give us new life!
Make your people happy to be yours.
7 LORD, save us and show us your love.
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