We commence a short series on the Book of Jonah. Andrew brings us a rich overview of the power of the Assyrian nation at the time of Jonah and the severity of the Ninevites and suggests reasons to understand why Jonah acted in disobedience to God at the thought that Israel's oppressors might be forgiven and redeemed.
The text instructs us that the Lord God is the the God of the Jews and the Gentiles. Jonah is unique in that it is the only account of a prophet speaking to a Gentile nation for the benefit of the nation, and not for any benefit or instruction to Israel. It is a book of mission.
Andrew explains that the use of a great fish to deliver wisdom of salvation was completely in keeping with the mythology of the Assyrians who believed that all wisdom for civilisation came from seven sages who appeared from the sea. Assyrian iconography and sculpture depicts men in the form of fish giving teaching and instruction.
Andrew also parallels the account of Jesus in the boat in the storm in Mark 4 and Jonah asleep in a boat in a storm. Jesus is sleeps perfectly connected to the will of the Father while Jonah is detached and immune to his circumstances and his role for the salvation of the sailors. The parallel is drawn with out own lives as to whether we are connected or detached from God's will.