Jonah’s Judgment

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Jonah 4

Today there seems to be an imperious spirit among the developed nations. Everyone has an opinion and without hesitation it is expressed in public. Talk shows on TV abound with the wisdom of every person bold enough to tell the most intimate details of their lives, in order to prove some point. How much error is promoted as evidence of truth! It is my opinion against yours.

The prophet Jonah was ahead of his time. He was willing to go to war with God over whose opinion ranked first. The word of the Lord came to Jonah, but Jonah ran away (Jonah 1:1-3). Surely he had read “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” (Psalm 139:7). David knew it was impossible to escape from God’s all-seeing eyes.

What motivated his flight? Jonah was convinced God was making a mistake. He knew in his heart of hearts that God was ready to pour out His love and forgiveness on an evil nation, enemy of Israel – the Ninevites (4:2). He was called to administer God’s mercy to Nineveh. Without considering the consequences, Jonah fled.

Jonah was justified in condemning the Ninevites. They were an ungodly nation internationally known for atrocities in war, and in peace. There was absolutely nothing about this nation that was worthy of being saved, yet here was GOD, Yahweh, willing to bring them to repentance, and He wanted to use Jonah. Nothing doing!

In Jonah’s judgment this was a mistake that would ruin the Israelites. After all the Ninevites were heathens to begin with, and Gentiles – the very people God had told Israel to keep away from for fear they would be spiritually contaminated by their evil practices. Israel would disgrace the very God they served by association with these people! Perhaps Jonah feared his own interpretation of the Word of the Lord that had come to him. He wasn’t going to get involved.

Just suppose these people, hardened and ungodly, decided to turn from their wicked ways. Difficult as that was to imagine, there were questions – how they would worship together, for one? No, Jonah couldn’t trust God for that sort of a miracle.

Then there was the issue of grace…..God’s grace had been withheld from various heathen nations surrounding the promised land. Why of all of these more deserving people groups would God choose to honour the Ninevites with His grace and mercy?


Does this strike home a chord within our own hearts as we think judgmentally of people groups we feel are unworthy of God’s favour? In light of Jonah’s default, let us examine our own hearts to see if in the twenty-first century we might be guilty of similar attitudes, judgment. Might we be at war with God over the fact that He is not willing that any should perish?

by Marilyn Daniels (

Devotional · Uncategorized

Journey Through Darkness

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Jonah 2


Do you remember being afraid of the dark? How many little children express fear of the dark? As adults can we identify with those fears? Dark moments in adult life may look different from the physical darkness that envelopes the imaginations of little kids, but they are just as real, none-the-less.


The Bible tells us of one man who experienced darkness physically and spiritually. He was near death – certainly a cardinal moment for us all. He knew he needed God to walk with him through this experience, but being out of fellowship with God made that an even more humbling experience. In spite of feeling banished from God’s sight, as he deserved to be, he tells us “When my life was ebbing away I remembered You, Lord, and my prayers rose to You” (Jonah 2:7).


How often is this the human experience? We feel engulfed, threatened, trapped. Everything is swirling around us as the breakers roll over our spirits. Isn’t it then that we think of God?


Recently I watched “Call the Midwife”, a programme set in the late 50’s which reminded me of the community nursing I did in the early 60’s. The young nurse in the series was shocked by the conditions she faced in the east end of London, as was I in Regent Park, Toronto. The lifestyle of people who were suffering deprivation of every kind, could only be called ‘dark’.


How much they needed to know God listens and answers prayer. He alone can bring our lives out from the pit. “Salvation comes from the Lord” (Jonah 2:9). He is the source of all comfort because He is the God of grace (Jonah 1:8). He is described by David : “You are my lamp oh Lord; the Lord turns my darkness into light” (2 Samuel 22:29).


Why did Jonah struggle in the dark? He was running away from God. God had called him to do something he didn’t want to do. Can you empathize with Jonah? Jonah recognized his punishment came from God. ”You hurled me into the deep” (Jonah 2:3). But he also knew God didn’t leave him there. “You brought my life up from the pit!” (2:6).


In his subsequent dealings with the Ninevites one might have supposed Jonah would have identified with them. They were displeasing to God and yet He saved them. In his darkest hour Jonah experienced God’s mercy and grace, but still begrudged it to the Ninevites. In a way, his own attitude kept him in darkness. Do we face this same struggle on our journey through life?



In the month of November we remember some of the darkest days in recent history – two great wars, called “World Wars” because humans from every continent met in combat. Principles of righteousness and democracy were at stake. Many nations paid dearly for the depths of darkness that nearly annihilated a whole generation of young men. Running away from the truths of God’s Word, the enemy assaulted the very chosen people of God. This was indeed a journey away from God!….a journey through darkness!


By Marilyn Daniels.