Raoul’s Two Cents: November 3, 2023
Fish Swallows Prophet. Prophet Swallows Pride
WARNING: Religious topic. Skip down to the jokes if you aren’t interested.
Unless you live in a cave, you must know about the ongoing war between the Israelites and the Palestinians. The hatred between the Jews and the Muslims predates any other rivalry in our time. But did you know that around 782 to 753 B.C. God told a Jew to warn an Arab nation of impending doom? Nineveh was an ancient Assyrian city of Upper Mesopotamia, located on the outskirts of Mosul in modern-day northern Iraq. It had a square area of about 60 miles and a population of 120,000. In other words this is a factual event — not a fish story … well, you know what I mean.
My church is going through the book of Jonah and we are in Chapter 3 where we find Jonah in dry land. He had been kept miraculously alive in the belly of a “big fish.” If you aren’t familiar with the story, Jonah was a prophet of God and he was instructed by God to warn the people of Nineveh (modern day Iraq) that they would be destroyed in 40 days. That didn’t register well with Jonah because those Ninevite terrorists were his arch rival. Jonah was told to turn RIGHT but he defiantly boarded a fishing boat and turned LEFT. Of course God knew where to find Jonah so he caused a great storm in the middle of the ocean and the crew of the sinking fishing vessel started throwing everything overboard until Jonah confessed that he was the cause of the storm. The crew tossed him over and he was lunch for a big fish. Which is where we find our hero on the beach in Chapter 3.
Still sulking because God handpicked him (out of all the people in the world) to warn the evil Ninevite empire, he climbed on top of his soapbox and addressed his enemies:
“You bunch of bloody bastards! You’re all gonna die in 40 days!”
Did you notice that Jonah didn’t advice them to repent? He really wanted them demolished. Well wouldn’t you know it, those “bloody bastards” repented and they were spared. In the ending scene Jonah is deep in self-pity and self-centered righteousness. Jonah, this teenie weenie little prophet, was mad at the all powerful omnipresent God of the universe:
“I knew it! You saved those scoundrels who tortured my people for years! Now I’ll never get my revenge!”
Poor Jonah. He didn’t realize that just as God was teaching the Ninevites to repent, God was also teaching Jonah a lesson on humility. Instead of zapping this cussing fish food for his immaturity, God was loving and patient … so many lessons and mirrors that surface from this story. Do you see yourself?
(Sidebar: In case you’re interested, Nineveh’s repentance didn’t last long and they were ultimately destroyed after 2 generations later in 612 B.C.)
Follow Up on Buddy
Last week I shared that I was to have a dialogue with an atheist named Buddy. Many offered prayers for a successful sharing of the Gospel (thank you!). Well, I did Facetime (a video conference over the phone) with Buddy while he was in his hospital bed and we hit it off very well. It was a bit awkward because I found out he reads my TGIF email (Yes Buddy, I know you’re reading this). No, I didn’t read off a formulaic script to lead him to accept Christ. I let him get to know me first. Buddy was reportedly getting better so the urgency was set a few notches back. But I’ve been praying for him all this week because if God were to take him before our next meeting I would never forgive myself for missing out on the opportunity to lead him to Christ. In fact, I half-jokingly told him, not to die until next Friday.
So Buddy, as you read this email, please know that you have an appointment with God today (no not me! silly! — the BIG guy). I pray that God will use me as his mouthpiece to you. I pray you (unlike Jonah) see the mirror. The Jonah story is about you. This email is about you. God is not zapping you to smithereens because He loves you too much and is giving you an opportunity to accept Jesus as your Lord and savior.
And for the rest of you, if you still are wondering what all this Jesus stuff is about, click here to find out more.
But this is just me.
“But God said to Jonah,
‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?’
‘It is,’ he said. ‘And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
–Jonah 4: 9
JOKE OF THE WEEK
Thanks to Pat of Washington, D.C.
Video of the Week
Thanks to Ed of Studio City, CA for this AI-assisted Final Beatles Song
Thanks to Maling of New Manila, Philippines
Thanks to Art of Sierra Madre. CA
I found these
The Traveling Boy
My good friend (and jokester) Terry and I came up with these.