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The Near Death Experience of Jonah

Live a life of obedience and without regret in order to finish strong

Most people know the story of Jonah: God sends Jonah to help Nineveh. But Jonah gets in a boat headed in the opposite direction. God sends a storm to get Jonah’s attention. Jonah implores the crew to throw him overboard in order to calm the storm.

After some prodding they toss him into the water. A fish swallows Jonah. God gives Jonah a three-day timeout. He has a near death experience. The fish spits out Jonah on dry land. Then Jonah obeys God.

But what happens between the crew throwing Jonah into the sea and the fish swallowing him? Jonah nearly drowns. It isn’t as if the fish is hanging out by the boat waiting to rescue Jonah.

No, Jonah goes in the water and fights to survive. He flails as long as he can. Out of strength he can fight no longer. He sinks. Water fills his lungs. He can’t breathe. Jonah is dying. His life flashes before his eyes. Then the fish comes and saves him. He doesn’t die after all.

How do I know this? I don’t. But Jonah’s prayer to God suggests his watery rescue comes at the last possible moment. He says, “When my life was ebbing away…,” (Jonah 2:7). In other words, he is about to die. His final thoughts are of God and God’s holy temple.

Jonah prays. He affirms God and promises to make good. Jonah acknowledges that salvation comes from God – in this case, his salvation is both literal and figurative.

Will our final thoughts be filled with regret over unfinished business and disobedience? Click To Tweet

When we get to the end of our life, what will we think about? Will our final thoughts be filled with regret over unfinished business and disobedience? Will we recall good times with family and friends?

Perhaps we will anticipate eternity with God. Or maybe we will pray. Will our final prayer be one of desperation or of peace?

Living in obedience to God and without regret is the surest way to make sure we finish this life strong. Then God will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21). May it be so.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Jonah 1-4, and today’s post is on Jonah 2:7-9.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s book, Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Nineveh, Part II: How Patient Should God Be?

The prophetic book of Nahum is essentially a sequel to the book of Jonah.  Both focus on the people of Nineveh. Jonah proclaims doom and destruction on them. They have a change of heart (repent). And God relents.

A century or so later, they have forgotten all about that. This time Nahum proclaims doom and destruction. This time there is no change of heart; and history records that they are soon destroyed.

What did they do? Nahum simply pronounces that they are guilty (Nahum 1:3) and later shares some details:

The city of Nineveh is given a second chance, but they miss it—and they pay a heavy price.

God is patient (Nahum 1:3), but not patient forever. If he gives us a second change, we’d better take it.

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s book, Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Jonah and the Big Fish

You likely know the story of Jonah:

  • He tries to run from God,
  • Spends a 3-day “time out” in the belly of a large fish (the Bible doesn’t say it’s a whale),
  • Is given a second chance,
  • Then does what God commands, albeit with a bad attitude

He proclaims, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” Talk about a lousy sermon.

Eight concise and direct words. He doesn’t use persuasive language, doesn’t implore the people to act, and doesn’t show any compassion or concern. He is blunt and to the point. Technically, he does what God tells him to do, but his heart isn’t in it.

Amazingly, the people get his message, are convicted, and repent. So God lovingly relents and calls the whole thing off—and Jonah gets pissed.

He even picks a good seat to watch the destruction take place—and then pouts when God gives Nineveh a reprieve.

Essentially, Jonah reluctantly preaches a bad sermon and then gets mad because he is successful.

Despite all that, God is able to use him anyway. How encouraging that is for us when we run away from what God calls us to do.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Jonah 1-4 and today’s post is on Jonah 3:4.]

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s book, Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

God’s Sovereignty At Work

In the story of Jonah, we see God’s sovereignty at work, with God exercising control over nature. Here’s what God does:

Furthermore, God’s sovereignty allows him to show mercy towards the people of Nineveh and not destroy them as he had originally planned.

However, God does not exercise control over Jonah, allowing him to do what he wants, when he chooses,and how pleases. Jonah has free will—and God does not interfere with that even though Jonah’s choices cause him a lot of grief.

God gives Jonah the freedom to mess up—or to do what is right.  That’s God’s sovereignty at work. That’s how God rolls.

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s book, Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Book about the Minor Prophets

Book 4 in the Dear Theophilus Series

You may know about the prophet Jonah, the guy who spent a three-day time-out in the belly of a large fish, but what about some of the lesser-known prophets?

Do you know of Micah, Obadiah, or Malachi?

What about Nahum, Zephaniah, or Zechariah? Oh, my! The list goes on. It’s enough to make our minds spin.

Rounding out these twelve Minor Prophets are Amos, Hosea, Habakkuk, Haggai, and Joel.

The Bible includes the work of these twelve prophets who carry the unfortunate label of minor. It’s not that their work isn’t significant, it’s that their books are shorter.

If you’re like most people, you scarcely remember their names, let alone having ever read their books in the Bible.

It’s time we change this.

In the book Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets, you’ll discover:

  • The order of each prophet’s ministry (because the Bible doesn’t list them chronologically)
  • The significant messages they address
  • Their place in the biblical timeline
  • The umbrella of hope that outshines criticism of unfaithfulness and prophecies of punishment
  • The powerful way their words apply to us today

Return to Me is book four of the Dear Theophilus series. In it, you’ll get all this and more:

  • Thought-provoking insights that are part Bible study and part devotional
  • A deeper understanding of these lesser-known prophets
  • A greater appreciation of how the Old Testament informs our lives today

Let’s dive into the intriguing lives and ministries of these amazing messengers from God in the book Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets.

[Return to Me was originally published as Dear Theophilus, Minor Prophets.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Posts about the Minor Prophets

For the past several months, most of the ABibleADay posts have been about the minor prophets. Recall that they are called minor not because their prophecy is insignificant, but because their books are short!

Though more posts may be added in the future, there are no more planned at this time. See all posts about the twelve Minor Prophets:

  1. Hosea
  2. Joel
  3. Amos
  4. Obadiah
  5. Jonah
  6. Micah
  7. Nahum
  8. Habakkuk
  9. Zephaniah
  10. Haggai
  11. Zechariah
  12. Malachi

Learn more about all twelve of the Bible’s Minor Prophets in Peter’s book, Return to Me: 40 Prophetic Teachings about Unfaithfulness, Punishment, and Hope from the Minor Prophets

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.