Follow the Prophet Jonah


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What can we learn from following the prophet Jonah?

Jonah is perhaps the most contradictory prophet in the Old Testament.

A man who praised the Lord as the creator of earth and sky and yet apparently thought he could run off to another country and be beyond the Lord’s jurisdiction.

Who; when the people he preached to repented, instead of being happy he went up on a hillside to watch the celestial fireworks destroy their city. When that didn’t happen, he sulked and grumbled to the Lord.

Who; is the subject of what appears to be a practical joke, and a gentle ribbing by the Lord. Kind of a “Hey get over it. We saved 120,000 people not to mention the cows.”

Who; was afraid to preach repentance to a wicked city, but convinced reluctant sailors to throw him overboard to save themselves and their ship.

Who; accomplished the impossible according to the experts. He got vomited out alive after spending three days in the belly of what the Bible calls “a great fish” (more likely a big shark than a whale incidentally. Their throats are bigger.)

Who; has an experience that is compared twice in the Bible to Jesus death and resurrection. Who makes the comparison? Jesus himself.

All these contradictories should intrigue us to go read Jonah’s story again, sing his verse in “Follow the Prophet” and believe the Lord will help us do hard things. Even if we are as reluctant as Jonah was.

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Follow the Prophet Samuel

Follow the Prophet Samuel
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What can we learn by following the prophet Samuel?
Hanna and Elkanah longed to have a son. Finally Hanna promised God that if he would grant their wish, they would dedicate their child to serve in the Lord’s tabernacle.

And so it came to pass, and they named their son Samuel.

Even as a young boy Samuel was a good and faithful servant. One day while working in the tabernacle he thought he heard his supervisor Eli call his name. But Eli said, “It wasn’t me. I believe it was the Lord. If he calls again, say ‘Speak for thy servant heareth.’” Samuel did that, and his life was changed forever. The Lord later called him to be a prophet to the nation. Again he served faithfully.

It wasn’t easy.

Israel wanted to have a king. Samuel warned them not to. They ignored him and soon saw the wisdom of his words. Saul the first king regressed from being a humble servant of the people to an unstable psychopath. He hated David the national hero who with his sling had killed the giant Goliath. David had since become a greater warrior than Saul. Insane with Jealousy, Saul tried to kill David, but couldn’t catch him. Saul committed suicide. David was anointed king.

But high office also corrupted David. He committed adultery, then had the woman’s husband killed in battle to cover his sin.

As Samuel had foretold, the king thing never did work out very well for Israel.

Through all this and more, Samuel remained the conscience of Israel chastening the powerful, and ministering to the poor and needy. His heart was as pure as it had been that day when God called his name, and he answered, “Speak. Thy servant heareth.”

Samuel’s life shows us the Lord speaks to people of all ages. He will speak to you and me, and anyone who sincerely prays to him. We may not hear his voice, but we will feel his spirit. Then, like Samuel we can weather the storms of life and one day hear the Lord say to us as he undoubtedly said to Samuel, “Well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”