[CF Devotionals] 2011-04-07 - Nahum

Introduction ~ Part 1

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city—a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened” (Jonah 3:1-10).

This was the greatest revival in history. An entire people repented and turned to God. Of course Jonah was ecstatic about the whole thing. Right! Consider the following “transcript” from the records of Jonah’s psychiatrist.

“One afternoon, … he stormed into the office, slammed himself into the straight-backed chair, his face alarmingly red, as if it would burst with rage. There were no opening gambits.

“He had no right to force me to do this,” he charged, his moist, red-rimmed eyes contrasting with the harshness of his gravel-crusher voice.

“You’d be happier if God had not brought you into His plans for saving Nineveh, “I reflected back, in order to keep him working on his alienation from the Lord he really loved.

“Of course! How would you like to participate in a plan to free the man who would kill your son? That’s how it was for me to be asked to rescue Nineveh.”

“You fear that the Assyrian army will eventually destroy Israel?” I asked, naively.

“His face purpled. “Have you ever seen what your Assyrian troops do to their vanquished enemies? They whack off the hands or feet of civilians, or cut off their noses, or put out their eyes, or so disfigure their heads and faces as to permanently display large areas of the skull.—No, they are not ‘gentle.”

“And neither will be the Assyrian conquest of my country.” His anger was now accompanied by deep grief for his people. “They will do as they have done to other nations—carrying thousands away into slavery, importing thousands of aliens with strange cultures and hideous gods and settling them in Israel to defile our sacred soil.” …

“It must be painful to feel so betrayed,” I responded, without condemnation. …

“I have never felt so lost,” he was saying in s subdued tone. “God won’t talk to me. I don’t know if He listens. My guts wrench. The blood pounds in my head. My hands clutch and my muscles contract of themselves. It’s as if I’m trying to capture my Persecutor and hold Him until He hears me out.

“It was bad enough that He commanded me to go. But He wouldn’t be content with that. He robbed me of freedom. In the end I had no choice—no choice. When God robs you even of the freedom to disobey, you are left with nothing.” 1

Well, Jonah may have been successful, but he wasn’t a happy camper. On the other hand, his concerns weren’t without merit. And they come to fruition many years later, as we will see in this study.

  1. Backus, William, The Paranoid Prophet, Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN, 1986, p. 83-85.

Comments or Questions?
Geoff

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