Monday after the Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Obadiah 1 and Jonah 1-4 (NKJV)
Obadiah 1:1 The vision of Obadiah.
Thus says the Lord GOD concerning Edom
(We have heard a report from the LORD, and a messenger has been sent among the nations, saying, “Arise, and let us rise up against her for battle”):
2 “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; You shall be greatly despised. 3 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’ 4 Though you ascend as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down,” says the LORD. 5 “If thieves had come to you, if robbers by night—Oh, how you will be cut off!—would they not have stolen till they had enough? If grape-gatherers had come to you, would they not have left some gleanings? 6 Oh, how Esau shall be searched out! How his hidden treasures shall be sought after! 7 All the men in your confederacy shall force you to the border; The men at peace with you shall deceive you and prevail against you. Those who eat your bread shall lay a trap for you. No one is aware of it.
8 “Will I not in that day,” says the LORD, “Even destroy the wise men from Edom, and understanding from the mountains of Esau? 9 Then your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau may be cut off by slaughter. 10 For violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever. 11 In the day that you stood on the other side—in the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem—even you were as one of them. 12 But you should not have gazed on the day of your brother in the day of his captivity; Nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; Nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress. 13 You should not have entered the gate of My people in the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction In the day of their calamity, nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity. 14 You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who escaped; Nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained in the day of distress.
15 “For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near; As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head. 16 For as you drank on my holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; Yes, they shall drink, and swallow, and they shall be as though they had never been. 17 But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions. 18 The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame; But the house of Esau shall be stubble; They shall kindle them and devour them, and no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,” For the LORD has spoken.
19 The South shall possess the mountains of Esau, and the Lowland shall possess Philistia. They shall possess the fields of Ephraim and the fields of Samaria. Benjamin shall possess Gilead. 20 And the captives of this host of the children of Israel shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarephath. The captives of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the South. 21 Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the LORD’s.
Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
4 But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load.
But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”
9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.
12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, “We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.
17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly.
2 And he said:
“I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice. 3 For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me. 4 Then I said, ‘I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.’ 5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. 6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God.
7 “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple.
8 “Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own mercy. 9 But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”
10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
3:1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.”
3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. 4 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.
6 Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes.
7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying,
Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?
10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the LORD, and said, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
4 Then the LORD said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city.
6 And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. 7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”
10 But the LORD said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”
On account of the unbelief in Nineveh great wickedness was done there, so it deserved to be destroyed. But in His mercy our Lord God determined that a warning should be preached to the people of Nineveh. For this task the Prophet Jonah was chosen. Unfortunately, he forsook the call given to him by the Lord God and was eventually swallowed by a large fish.
The Lord God shows His mercy throughout this book. There is mercy for the Prophet Jonah. There is mercy for the sailors who threw Jonah overboard to receive a calm sea. There is even mercy for the Ninevites who listen to the Word of the Lord through Jonah and repent in sackcloth and ashes.
No sign is given to the city of Nineveh, only the Word of the Lord. But they believed that Word. The Lord Jesus references this when He declares that the wicked and evil generation in which He lived only wanted signs. They refused to listen to the Word—to the Lord Jesus. The only sign they would receive was the sign of Jonah, who was in the belly of a great fish. The Son of Man—the Lord Jesus—was also in the grave three days, so that He might become the firstfruits of the resurrection of the dead for those who believe on His Name. We have this same promise through the preaching of the Word through the ministers of God. Believe the Word and receive His gifts.
We pray: Lord, we beseech Thee to keep Thy household, the Church, in continual godliness, that through Thy protection she may be free from all adversities and devoutly given to serve Thee in good works, to the glory of Thy Name; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.