Behold within the Bible of a story that it tells:
a tale of how God works with man to prove and not compel.
Take Jonah for example that on God all life depends.
The Lord called him to go and preach that Nineveh repent,
but Jonah disobeyed God’s Word and fled aboard a ship;
so God aroused the winds and seas to threaten Jonah’s trip.
By gusting winds and pounding waves, the merchant ship was tossed,
portending dread and doom perchance the men and ship be lost.
The mariners cast lots to learn which evil cause to blame;
and as the Lord disposes lots, it fell to Jonah’s name!
The men confronted Jonah, asking him “what have you done?”
And Jonah answered honestly — a sinner on the run.
“The God of heaven, land, and seas,
His presence did I try to flee,
but now I see my sin He has undone:
His governance shall never be outrun.”
So Jonah told the men to cast his body overboard,
and once they did, the calm of peaceful waters God restored.
But Jonah sank down deeply to the bottom of the sea,
where God sent him a giant fish to swallow him complete.
Inside the belly of the fish, he spent three days and nights;
and stricken by travail, prophetic words did Jonah cry:
“Within the deepest darkest pit, cast out from thine own sight,
I look upon thine holy temple, trusting in thy might.
Below the mountains’ bottom floor, Hell’s bars encompass me,
with them whose lying vanities forsake His clemency.
But I will sacrifice to thee with all I can afford,
and I will pay what I have vowed, Salvation’s of the LORD.”
And so God caused the fish to vomit Jonah onto land,
Then bid him off to Nineveh to follow His command.
While walking into Nineveh, he preached foreboding news:
“Thy wickedness has reached the Lord; thy city shall be doomed.”
By proclamation of the king, decreed to men and beasts:
“adorn all flesh with sackcloth and deny them drink and feed.”
And Nineveh repented of their violent wicked ways,
so God shed mercy over them: His judgment He did stay.
But Jonah, angry with God’s mercy, cursed his very life,
for Jonah favored death to life: his preaching undermined.
So Jonah left the city to the east and sat alone,
and weaved himself a shelter from some branches that had grown.
Then God prepared a vine and made it tower over him,
to shadow Jonah’s head from scorching sun that God had sent.
The shade made Jonah happy for the vine that God prepared,
but overnight a worm God placed had smote the vine …
such that it withered dead.
And so it came to pass at morning, when the sun arose,
a hot east wind and scorching sun rekindled Jonah’s woes.
Without the vine to shadow him, the sun baked Jonah’s head,
and once again he cursed his life and wished that he were dead.
So God admonished Jonah for his anger and dismay:
“At first when I spared Nineveh, you felt as one betrayed,
but now that I have smote the vine
to manifest thy thoughts inveighed
you whine about the grief of scorching rays.”
“Doth thou commend for you, alone, My mercy over things,
but then deny My mercy for the people of thy King?”
IN THE WORD