The book of Jonah tells the story of a prophet who is called to preach to a nation that he hates. And because of this hate, Jonah does everything imaginable to avoid joining, even getting on a boat and sailing as far away as possible. However, when storms come, Jonah is thrown off the boat and swallowed by a large fish. Upon arriving in Ninevah, Jonah eventually preaches the message of God and the people of Ninevah repent.
This repentance angers Jonah. He goes to the east side of the city (Jonah 4:5) in hopes that God will reverse his mercy and still destroy the city. It is here that the book of Jonah ends with God asking Jonah, “Should I not have concern…in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left – and also many animals.” (Jonah 4:11) The book literally ends there. This wild book that is filled with lessons on racism, disobedience, and following God ends with a question about saving humans and animals.
I think this book ends this way because we, as readers, as supposed to be asking ourselves the very question that Jonah is forced to confront, “What are we going to do next?” We are all looking for signs of permission from God to move. In the Bible, God presents people with signs such as the audible voice of God, burning bushes, and even blinding lights. However, as we search for similar signs that will give us the confidence to move forward, Jesus reminds us that a sign has already been given. In Matthew 12, Jesus challenges those demanding signs by saying that the people of Ninevah (Jonah’s foes) will rebuke them because they believed with the sign of Jonah but now someone greater than Jonah has come.
Friends, we have already received our sign that we are to follow God’s will in our lives. Those passions and motivations that are already on your heart were put there because God wants to do something amazing in your lives. We must stop waiting for burning bushes or blinding lights and realize that God has already given us the sign that we need to move forward and do amazing things. So with that, what are you waiting on?