This post is Day 19 in a series of studies about “Jonah”. I strongly suggest you begin with the introduction to this study, please click here to read it.
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Jonah – Day 19
Many people will tell you that they have learned a lot through their pets, or that God sent a stray animal to be looked after just when someone needed a friend or someone on whom they could lavish love. Maybe the animals have more to teach us than we think!
Then the king 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.”
One word from God, one obedient prophet, and suddenly what seemed yesterday to have been a normal way of life is described as “evil ways and violence”. The king obviously knew what was going on throughout his city, but wasn’t bothered, or assumed he couldn’t change things. Suddenly he saw that acts of repentance were the way to a changed community!
It is interesting that the king called for the animals to join in the fast. Why do you think that was? Was it because the king thought they had a relationship with God? Maybe it was so that their owners didn’t have to care for them, and could consequently spend that time in prayer instead of being busy with their flocks and herds?
But the animals too had to be covered in sackcloth! Did this king recognize suddenly that animals were created by Almighty God and each have a relationship with their creator? Many people will tell you that they have learned a lot through their pets, or that God sent a stray animal to be looked after just when someone needed a friend or someone on whom they could lavish love.
God refers to the animals again at the end of chapter 4. Maybe the animals have more to teach us than we think!
Pray for a spirit of repentance to fall in your community. Pray for a new understanding of the position of animals in the Kingdom of God.
Praise God that His ways are perfect, and He is the creator of all living things.
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