Jonah 1** Jonah was a native of Galilee, #2Ki 14:25|. His miraculousdeliverance from out of the fish, rendered him a type of ourblessed Lord, who mentions it, so as to show the certain truthof the narrative. All that was done was easy to the almightypower of the Author and Sustainer of life. This book shows us,by the example of the Ninevites, how great are the Divineforbearance and long-suffering towards sinners. It shows a moststriking contrast between the goodness and mercy of God, and therebellion, impatience, and peevishness of his servant; and itwill be best understood by those who are most acquainted withtheir own hearts. * Jonah, sent to Nineveh, flees to Tarshish. (1-3) He is stayedby a tempest. (4-7) His discourse with the mariners. (8-12) Heis cast into the sea, and miraculously preserved. (13-17) #1-3. It is sad to think how much sin is committed in greatcities. Their wickedness, as that of Nineveh, is a bold and openaffront to God. Jonah must go at once to Nineveh, and there, onthe spot, cry against the wickedness of it. Jonah would not go.Probably there are few among us who would not have tried todecline such a mission. Providence seemed to give him anopportunity to escape; we may be out of the way of duty, and yetmay meet with a favourable gale. The ready way is not always theright way. See what the best of men are, when God leaves them tothemselves; and what need we have, when the word of the Lordcomes to us, to have the Spirit of the Lord to bring everythought within us into obedience.4-7 God sent a pursuer after Jonah, even a mighty tempest. Sinbrings storms and tempests into the soul, into the family, intochurches and nations; it is a disquieting, disturbing thing.Having called upon their gods for help, the sailors did whatthey could to help themselves. Oh that men would be thus wisefor their souls, and would be willing to part with that wealth,pleasure, and honour, which they cannot keep without makingshipwreck of faith and a good conscience, and ruining theirsouls for ever! Jonah was fast asleep. Sin is stupifying, and weare to take heed lest at any time our hearts are hardened by thedeceitfulness of it. What do men mean by sleeping on in sin,when the word of God and the convictions of their ownconsciences, warn them to arise and call on the Lord, if theywould escape everlasting misery? Should not we warn each otherto awake, to arise, to call upon our God, if so be he willdeliver us? The sailors concluded the storm was a messenger ofDivine justice sent to some one in that ship. Whatever evil isupon us at any time, there is a cause for it; and each mustpray, Lord, show me wherefore thou contendest with me. The lotfell upon Jonah. God has many ways of bringing to light hiddensins and sinners, and making manifest that folly which wasthought to be hid from the eyes of all living. 8-12 Jonah gave an account of his religion, for that was hisbusiness. We may hope that he told with sorrow and shame,justifying God, condemning himself, and explaining to themariners what a great God Jehovah is. They said to him, Why hastthou done this? If thou fearest the God that made the sea andthe dry land, why wast thou such a fool as to think thou couldstflee from his presence? If the professors of religion do wrong,they will hear it from those who make no such profession. Whensin has raised a storm, and laid us under the tokens of God'sdispleasure, we must consider what is to be done to the sin thatraised the storm. Jonah uses the language of true penitents, whodesire that none but themselves may fare the worse for theirsins and follies. Jonah sees this to be the punishment of hisiniquity, he accepts it, and justifies God in it. Whenconscience is awakened, and a storm raised, nothing will turn itinto a calm but parting with the sin that caused thedisturbance. Parting with our money will not pacify theconscience, the Jonah must be thrown overboard. 13-17 The mariners rowed against wind and tide, the wind ofGod's displeasure, the tide of his counsel; but it is in vain tothink of saving ourselves any other way than by destroying oursins. Even natural conscience cannot but dread blood-guiltiness.And when we are led by Providence God does what he pleases, andwe ought to be satisfied, though it may not please us. ThrowingJonah into the sea put an end to the storm. God will not afflictfor ever, He will only contend till we submit and turn from oursins. Surely these heathen mariners will rise up in judgmentagainst many called Christians, who neither offer prayers whenin distress, nor thanksgiving for signal deliverances. The Lordcommands all creatures, and can make any of them serve hisdesigns of mercy to his people. Let us see this salvation of theLord, and admire his power, that he could thus save a drowningman, and his pity, that he would thus save one who was runningfrom him, and had offended him. It was of the Lord's merciesthat Jonah was not consumed. Jonah was alive in the fish threedays and nights: to nature this was impossible, but to the Godof nature all things are possible. Jonah, by this miraculouspreservation, was made a type of Christ; as our blessed Lordhimself declared, #Mt 12:40|.
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