Jonah now goes to Nineveh
God gave Jonah the same command as before: "Arise, go to Nineveh.. " And this time Jonah did not flee from the presence of the Lord, but "arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord".
The command was fulfilled in quietness: God did not reproach nor did Jonah object. This matter may need us to pause and contemplate.
God was not angered by Jonah's attitude so that He deprived him of his ministry or demoted him from the level of prophets to the level of ordinary believers, or looked for another to send instead.
God also did not reprove him. What had happened was enough for him. It was a practical lesson, needing no more words which might hurt the feelings of the person when reproved or reprimanded, scolded or taunted for a previous error. No. This is not God's way. God cares for the feelings of His children. He leaves them to realize their own mistakes without taunting them.
Jonah had received a lesson, so he obeyed. Was it an obedience out of convincement and satisfaction or was it mere submission?
Behold, Jonah! You are now going to Nineveh. What about the previous hindrances which prevented you previously about your honor? What about your word which you will say and which the Lord will not carry out because the city will repent and the Lord will return from His warning? Have you thought of all these things? Has the monster within you died, the monster of dignity and esteem of one's word?
This time Jonah was going to obey, but that was all, he was going to obey outwardly, but from within his honor still held its value, and we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other pages. He was going to force himself for obedience's sake, then wait and see what God would do. This time he was going to meet God half way.
The love of dignity still troubled him, but he obeyed for fear of chastisement and not out of faith and humility.He was carrying out God's command out of fear whilst his heart from within was rebelling, and this rebellion would show in due time. He was walking by the rod and not by grace. God accepted Jonah's state as merely a step that would lead to the obedience which springs from believing in God's wisdom and good governance.
Jonah In The Belly Of The Fish
Contemplations on the Book of Jonah
H. H. Pope Shenouda III
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