By Joseph Ametepe
"The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, 'Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me. But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD." (Jonah 1:1-3).
The story of Jonah is one of the most remarkable stories in the Bible. It is remarkable because it is the only time in the Old Testament that God specifically commanded a Jewish prophet to proclaim His message to a Gentile people on Gentile soil. It is also the only case on record when a prophet of God whose name we know deliberately refused to carry out his commission. In fact, this passage is loaded with spiritual lessons. I would like to share some of them with you over the next few weeks.
The first spiritual lesson we see in this passage is this: God is in control of the nations and will in His own appointed time call them to account. This passage shows that God is not only in control, but He is also aware of everything that happens in the nations. He doesn't need anyone to inform Him. No one informed Him of the wickedness of Nineveh. He is an all-knowing God. This passage is a great encouragement to me, especially in the uncertain times in which we live. There is so much unrest in the nations. Many question God's control over the nations and doubt His awareness about the events occurring in the world today. But please make no mistake, God has never lost control. He is in charge.
Although the people of Nineveh did not know Him, in His appointed time, God called upon them to give account because their wickedness had come up before Him. This clearly shows that God is in control. This is an encouraging message for the believer in Jesus Christ. Our God is in control of the nations, whether or not they know Him. It's not only an encouraging message, but it is also a message of hope. Instead of living in fear because of the unrest in the nations, the believer in Jesus Christ should exhibit unshakable faith in God. Instead of feeling hopeless, the believer in Jesus should exude steadfast and sure hope in God that He will bring history to an end exactly as He has predicted in His Word. Instead of feeling confused as many in the world are, the believer should express unwearied confidence in God's ability and sovereignty over the nations. May the world see from our lives, not just from our lips that God is indeed in control of the nations!