Read Jonah 1:1-2. We can now explore the significance for our own lives in this tale of God’s accomplishment of spectacular changes that he still wants to accomplish today. God will not bypass flawed, and all too human agents, for that’s all he has. So our focus now turns from God to his servant Jonah, whose participation is vital. So we should now properly introduce God’s prophet, Jonah.

JONAH – Situations of mounting jeopardy require the call and arrival of a faithful special envoy. God always has them standing in the wings, awaiting his summons. OT scholar Alec Motyer, underlines this: “Israel is the custodian of the whole world’s welfare.” Hence, an Israelite prophet is to be called to an understandably intimidating, onerous, and abhorrent mission – a one-way ticket to what we now call Mesopotamia (Iraq-Iran), to threaten God’s wrath on its current king and citizens in the Assyrian capital city of Nineveh. Jonah knew instinctively what God had in mind, deep within his heart, in that God’s threat really included his intention to show mercy to the Ninevites. But God never mentioned this here.

God alone charts the plot, then chooses and shapes our lives for the call and direction of his momentous plans he has made, so that we can play our part in history. Usually we are ignorant of them. But this much is clear – Nineveh cannot be saved without a Jonah. Nor can Britain, or America, or Europe or anywhere else, for that matter. We read, ‘The word of the Lord came…’ (v.1) And when this happens, situations can suddenly go from ‘No Word’, to ‘Sent Word’, to ‘Heard Word’, and eventually ‘Believed Word’! In short, lives go from jeopardy, to promise, to great deliverance.  And the lynch-pin here is Jonah – the third and vital component in this triad of agents for change – Nineveh, God, and now Jonah i.e. a capital city in its sin, God in his surprising displays of mercy, and Jonah summoned to faithfulness and missionary boldness and zeal in the face of danger.

Ask the Lord to send forth lots more workers into his harvest field, and try to recall that the first person he may commission, is you.