“Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai” (Jonah 1:1)
The book of Jonah starts with a very short introduction: “the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai”. Immediately after, the book records what God said and how Jonah responded to God’s words. We will read the whole story over the next few days. But before we start, let’s see who Jonah was.
In 2 Kings 14:23-28, this same Jonah is mentioned. He was a prophet of God and communicated His messages to the Israelites. Jonah was living in a difficult time: both the king and the people of Israel “did what was evil in the sight of the Lord”.
Various prophets warned the people that God would punish them for their sins. But Jonah had a different message to
announce! Not because the other prophets were wrong, but because God showed mercy and gave the Israelites one more opportunity to learn how good He was to them. When “the LORD saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter”, He promised through his servant Jonah that Israel’s political situation would be improved. They regained the territory that had been taken from them by their enemies.
Jonah thus was a prophet who proclaimed God’s undeserved mercy, and saw it at work. This undeserved grace of God is the major theme of the book of Jonah. Do read with us over the next few days.
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